Welterweight World Championship Fights & Title Claims

Full welterweight fight details from 1887 to June 2016 (plus middle, junior middle, 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:

 

13 October 2018. Terence Crawford w rsc 12 Jose Benavidez.

Venue: CHI Health Centre, Omaha, Nebraska, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Celestinno Ruiz.

8 September 2018. Shawn Porter w pts 12 Danny Garcia.

Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Steve Willis.

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

16 June 2018. Errol Spence w co 1 Carlos Ocampo.

Venue: Ford Centre, Frisco, Texas, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Laurence Cole.

9 June 2018. Terence Crawford w rsc 9 Jeff Horn.

Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Robert Byrd.

20 January 2018. Errol Spence w rsc 8 Lamont Peterson.

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

13 December 2017. Jeff Horn w rsc 11 Gary Corcoran.

Venue: Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Australia. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Benjy Esteves.

2 July 2017. Jeff Horn w pts 12 Manny Pacquiao.

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Mark Nelson

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

27 May 2017. Errol Spence w co 11 Kell Brook.

Venue: Bramall Lane football Ground, Sheffield, England. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Howard Foster.

4 March 2017. Keith Thurman w pts 12 Danny Garcia.

Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBC. Referee: Michael Griffin.

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

Lamont Peterson relinquished his WBA ‘second tier’ title on 3 October. Following that, a new 'second tier' champion was crowned when Lucas Martin Matthysse knocked out Tewa Kiram inside eight rounds at the Inglewood Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA on 27 January 2018.

Thurman handed in his WBC belt on 25 April 2018 following elbow surgery and a recent hand injury.

Manny Pacquiao won the WBA ‘second tier’ title when stopping Lucas Martin Matthysse inside seven rounds at the Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 15 July 2018.

5 November 2016. Manny Pacquiao w pts 12 Jessie Vargas.

Venue: Thomas & Mack Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Kenny Bayless.

Scorecards: 118-109, 118-109, 114-113.

25 June 2016. Keith Thurman w pts 12 Shawn Porter.

Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Willis.

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

Fight Summary: Making his first defence since being appointed champion, Thurman (146) outpointed Porter (147) by a very narrow margin in what was a hard-fought affair that was contested at an extremely fast pace. Both men were cut on their left eyes towards the end, Porter below and Thurman above, but it made no difference to the result. There was no doubting Porter's pressure took the eye as he continually came forward, but it was Thurman's defence and countering that won the day in a fight that will be remembered for a long time by those who witnessed it. In a battle between friends, neither was able to dominate and both were hurt at times. There were no knockdowns.

 

Lamont Peterson won the vacant WBA ‘second tier’ title when outpointing the ‘interim’ champion, David Avanesyan, over 12 rounds at the Cintas Centre, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA on 18 February 2017.

26 March 2016. Kell Brook w rsc 2 Kevin Bizier.

Venue: The Arena, Sheffield, England. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Marcus McDonnell.

Fight Summary: Having been inactive since a damaged rib forced him out of a defence against Diego Gabriel Chaves, the champion was soon in complete control of Bizier (146¼) before stepping it up. Although Bizier began by making the running in the second he was countered solidly by Brook (146½), two rights to the head eventually having him over. When the game Bizier got to his feet there was no hiding place and after being hit with a cluster of shots he was dropped again. This time it was curtains, the referee calling the count off at 'five' and halting the contest with 45 seconds of the session remaining.

5 March 2016. Jessie Vargas w rsc 9 Sadam Ali.

Venue: The Armory, Washington DC, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Kenny Chevalier.

Fight Summary: Fighting for the title that was vacated when Timothy Bradley fought Manny Pacquiao instead of meeting the unbeaten Ali (147), it was Vargas (146¼) who became champion when forcing a stoppage at 2.09 of the ninth. Working well with two-fisted attacks and having hurt Vargas towards the end of the fourth, Ali looked as though he had settled in nicely. However, once Vargas had got himself going, using his extended reach to fire in blows from the outside while outworking Ali, his overarm right started to do some damage, the latter was dropped in the eighth from one such punch. Although making it to the ninth, once Ali took another heavy shot to the head before being floored again and then staggered from another big right, the third man had seen enough.

23 January 2016. Danny Garcia w pts 12 Robert Guerrero.

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

Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 116-112.

Fight Summary: Contested for Floyd Mayweather Jnr's old title that was vacated on his retirement, Garcia (146¾) clearly outscored Guerrero (146¾). Having worked his southpaw opponent out early on, by the sixth Garcia began to get to Guerrero with countering hooks and uppercuts. From the sixth to the tenth it was virtually all Garcia before Guerrero started the fightback in the tenth and 12th when firing in solid blows. Although Guerrero thought that he had won, the CompuBox stats had him landing just 108 blows to the former undefeated WBA/WBC junior welterweight title holder’s 163.

7 November 2015. Timothy Bradley w rsc 9 Brandon Rios.

Venue: Thomas & Mack Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Tony Weeks.

Fight Summary: Hoping to make a successful defence of the title that he was handed after the WBO stripped Floyd Mayweather for not complying with their rules and regulations, Bradley (146) ultimately proved too good for Rios (147) when winning in the ninth round. Starting fast with the jab and follow-up combinations before moving on, Bradley took the contest by the scruff of the neck, punishing the laborious Rios in virtually every round. Eventually, in the ninth, Bradley began the run for home when hurting Rios with a left to the body, and after sinking in another heavy left the latter took ‘a knee’ to recuperate. Although Rios made it to his feet, when another barrage of blows put him down again the referee came to his rescue at 2.49 of the session.

 

Bradley was forced to hand back his WBO title on 11 February 2016 when signing for a third fight against Manny Pacquiao instead of making a mandatory defence against Sadam Ali. However, the WBO announced that because of the importance of the fight the winner would be given special recognition.

12 September 2015. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w pts 12 Andre Berto.

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

Scorecards: 120-108, 117-111, 118-110.

Fight Summary: In what Mayweather (146) stated would be his last contest, he took on Berto (145), the WBA 'interim' champion, in defence of his three championship belts. To be fair, Berto was never in with a chance against a master of defensive boxing, an expert in laying traps before drawing opponents into them. Even when Berto got close in the seventh he was punished by solid uppercuts to deter such a notion. Berto's battle plan had been to attack the body, but whenever he got close to Mayweather the opportunity quickly disappeared. One of the judges gave Berto three rounds and another gave him two, probably in sessions where Mayweather stopped working while the challenger was at least trying to make the fight. Having made the toughest of sports look easy it was rumoured that Mayweather would retire on 49 straight wins.

 

Following Mayweather’s announcement that he had retired from boxing, The Ring Championship Belt was eventually vacated on 19 September. The WBC eventually accepted that Mayweather was not coming back and vacated their title on 4 November.

 

The WBA 'interim' title was next won by David Avanesyan when he stopped Charlie Jose Navarro inside nine rounds at the Room of Stars, Monte Carlo, Monaco on 7 November.

 

Immediately after their convention, in January 2016 the WBA dropped Mayweather from their list of champions, a move that saw Keith Thurman being recognised as the top man.

 

Avanesyan made his first defence of the WBA 'interim' title a successful one when outpointing Shane Mosley over 12 rounds at the Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona on 28 May 2016.

30 May 2015. Kell Brook w rsc 6 Frankie Gavin.

Venue: O2 Arena, Greenwich, London, England. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Steve Gray.

Fight Summary: Up against a fellow Brit in Gavin (146¾), a former world amateur champion, Brook (146¼), his IBF title on the line, proved too good for his southpaw opponent after taking control from the opening bell. There was no doubt that the champion's switch-hitting confused Gavin, who was gradually taken apart. Having put Gavin under pressure in the sixth following some solid shots to head and body, when a right hook-right uppercut slammed into the Birmingham fighter the referee, who had seen enough, called a halt to proceedings at 2.51 of the session. Following the contest, Brook called out Amir Khan to settle their differences in a big money fight.

2 May 2015. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w pts 12 Manny Pacquiao.

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

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

Fight Summary: Despite some claiming that this would be 'The Fight of the Century, it was nothing of the kind as the ultra-clever Mayweather (146), the three-belt title holder, thwarted the WBO's Pacquiao (145), taking over the latter's crown in the process. Every now and again Pacquiao would bang in a barrage of blows from his southpaw stance, most of which would not hit the target due to Mayweather's brilliant defensive skills, especially when on the ropes. Although there was not much in it at the halfway stage, Mayweather upped his work-rate from thereon in, his left jab and single shots picking Pacquiao out, and he rubber stamped it when clearly taking the last two sessions. According to the CompuBox stats, Mayweather landed 148 to Pacquiao's 81, the Filipino's low punch rate being explained by the fact that he sustained a torn muscle in his right shoulder three weeks earlier.

 

Timothy Bradley outpointed Jessie Vargas over 12 rounds at the StubHub Centre, Carson, California, USA on 27 June to win the vacant WBO 'interim' title.

 

Further to an ultimatum to comply with WBO rules, Mayweather was stripped of the WBO title on 6 July. At the same time, Bradley was confirmed as the new WBO champion.

 

Keith Thurman made a successful defence of the WBA 'second tier' title when forcing Luis Collazo to retire at the end of the seventh round of their contest at the USF Sundome, Tampa, Florida, USA on 11 July.

28 March 2015. Kell Brook w rtd 4 Ionut Dan Ion.

Venue: Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield, England. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Earl Brown.

Fight Summary: Brook (145½) was far too good for his southpaw challenger in this one despite coming back from a stab wound to his left leg just six months earlier. Going straight on the attack, Brook began pushing Dan Ion (146¼) back in the opener before dropping him with a big right that followed a left hook. Having got to his feet, Dan Ion was again put down by another right, and although he made it to the end of the round and then through the third he was in trouble in the fourth. Sent to the boards following a barrage of blows, even though Dan Ion was allowed to box on it would not be for long. Having been smashed to the floor by a left-hander right at the end of the session Dan Ion's corner retired him during the interval.

23 November 2014. Manny Pacquiao w pts 12 Chris Algieri.

Venue: Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort, Macau, China. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.

Scorecards: 120-102, 119-103, 119-103.

Fight Summary: Taking every round against a game challenger who was dropped six times in all, Pacquiao (143¾) continued to show that he was a cut above all of his challengers. Using a countering southpaw jab as Algieri (143½) tried to fight his way out of the corners, Pacquiao dropped the American with a barrage of blows in the second before catching up with him again in the sixth when knocking him down twice, a solid left and a clubbing right doing the damage. Somehow Algieri made it into the ninth after taking further heavy shots, only to be decked twice more in that session when a straight left had him over before a cluster of blows had him down on one knee. Dropped again in the tenth from another big left, Algieri got up and dusted himself down to make it to 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: This was also surprisingly seen by the WBC as involving Mayweather's 154lbs title. 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 continually 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.

 

Keith Thurman retained his WBA 'interim' title when outpointing Leonard Bundu over 12 rounds at the MGM Grand on 13 December, prior to being promoted to 'second tier' champion on 16 January 2015. He successfully retained his new title when outpointing Robert Guerrero over 12 rounds at the MGM Grand on 7 March 2015.

 

Selected to meet Josesito Lopez for the vacant WBA 'interim' title, Andre Berto stopped his man inside six rounds at the Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California, USA on 13 March 2015.

16 August 2014. Kell Brook w pts 12 Shawn Porter.

Venue: StubHub Centre, Carson, California, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Pat Russell.

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

Fight Summary: Boxing at a level above what the Americans expected from him, Brook (146½) gradually took the steam out of the champion before coming on strong to take the majority points decision. Outworked in the early rounds and cut over the left eye in the second, Brook began to make up ground from the fourth before winning every round bar two on two of the judges' cards from the seventh onwards. Cut over the right eye in the sixth, Porter (146¾) was almost blasted out in the seventh by a cracking right uppercut, and after Brook took over from the American on the inside he made the fight his.

3 May 2014. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w pts 12 Marcos Maidana.

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

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

Fight Summary: With Mayweather's WBC title and Ring Championship Belt on the line in a contest that also saw Maidana's WBA crown thrown into the mix for good measure, the latter made the running when never giving his opponent a minute's rest. Defending himself at all times as Maidana (146½) continually tore in, by the halfway point Mayweather (146) was beginning to put some distance between himself and the Argentine, banging out the jab and looking to go to the body before moving on. With the ninth and tenth going to Mayweather on all three cards, Maidana continued to force the pace in the last two sessions but was unable to turn things around. Mayweather, who finished with a cut over his right eye and a swelling on the left cheek, was ultimately far too clever for the tough Maidana who fought above expectation.

19 April 2014. Shawn Porter w rsc 4 Paul Malignaggi.

Venue: The Armoury, Washington DC, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Sam Williams.

Fight Summary: Defending his title for the first time, Porter (146¾) was soon driving into Malignaggi (146¼) with both hands blazing, a cut opening up on the latter's left cheek in the first round as heads and punches went in. Hurt in the second by left and right hooks, Malignaggi tried to fight back but found Porter too big and strong for him. Forced to take a count in the fourth after being put down by a right to the head Malignaggi was in trouble, and when a big right smashed him down again the referee halted the contest at 1.14 of the session without bothering to take up the count.

12 April 2014. Manny Pacquiao w pts 12 Timothy Bradley.

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

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

Fight Summary: Gaining revenge for his earlier defeat at the hands of the champion, Pacquiao (145) made sure this time round that he would impress the judges when taking the fight to his opponent, banging a southpaw hook in right from the off. Not perturbed, Bradley (145½) quickly hit back when both giving and taking, and hurt Pacquiao in the fourth with a wide right to the head. Back came a renewed Pacquiao, who battered away with solid combinations before almost dropping Bradley in the seventh. From thereon in it was nearly all Pacquiao. The only dampener for the five-weight world champion came in the 12th round when he received a bad cut over his right eye that would require 32 stitches after heads came together.

14 December 2013. Marcos Maidana w pts 12 Adrien Broner.

Venue: The Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Laurence Cole.

Scorecards: 117-109, 115-110, 115-109.

Fight Summary: Beginning the contest strongly, banging in blows from both hands, Maidana (146¼) gave the champion no respite as he looked to unsettle him. In the second a cracking left hook to the chin dropped Broner (144½), who had received a warning earlier after an overarm left had sent him crashing into the ropes. Although being forced to take several hard shots upon getting to his feet Broner picked it up in the third when coming back with punches of his own, but by the seventh Maidana had taken over the reins again. Put down by another left hook in the eighth, on rising Broner was on the floor again, courtesy of a head butt for which Maidana had a point deducted. Still looking to put Broner away, Maidana slammed his way through the next three sessions before the American hit back hard in the 12th. Despite giving it everything Broner had left it too late, losing not only his title but also his unbeaten record.

 

On the same bill, Keith Thurman successfully defended his WBA ‘interim’ title when stopping Jesus Soto Karass in the ninth round. Thurman made another successful defence of the WBA 'interim' title when forcing Julio Diaz to retire at the end of the third round of their contest at the StubHub Centre, Carson, California on 26 April 2014.

7 December 2013. Shawn Porter w pts 12 Devon Alexander.

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

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

Fight Summary: Losing his title at the first time of asking, Alexander (146½), who was hurt by a big right in the opening session and almost decked in the third found Porter (146¾) just too lively for him. Porter also found Alexander's southpaw stance a perfect target for his right hands, and it was only in the middle rounds that the champion had some joy with the jab. With heads cracking together in the seventh, it was Alexander who came off worse when he was cut over the left eye. Whether it held Alexander back or not was debatable, but it certainly revitalised Porter who went on to take three of the last four rounds and the title.

12 October 2013. Timothy Bradley w pts 12 Juan Manuel Marquez.

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

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

Fight Summary: Up against a 40-year-old challenger in Marquez (144½), and wary of his power, Bradley (146) boxed accordingly. At times both men let their punches go, but in the main it was safety first for Bradley, who kept his boxing together rather than taking the bait offered by Marquez. Despite there being no knockdowns, it was still interesting to see the contest play out, and there was never that much between them as the split decision in favour of Bradley would testify. In a difficult fight to score, there were only five rounds that all three judges could agree on, four of them going to Bradley and one to Marquez.

22 June 2013. Adrien Broner w pts 12 Paul Malignaggi.

Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Benjy Esteves Jnr.

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

Fight Summary: Getting away quickly, the champion took three of the opening four rounds before Broner (146¾) was up and running, his punch-rate and speed keeping the latter at bay. As the contest wore on, the harder blows were being landed by Broner, especially on the inside, but he was never able to dominate the fast-moving Malignaggi (146½). Towards the end, while it was obvious that Malignaggi was throwing punches just to keep Broner at bay, the man from Cincinnati was unable to break through. At the final bell it was Broner who received the split decision, although it had been much tougher for him than expected. Broner became a three-weight champion on winning, having been the undefeated WBO junior lightweight champion and the current holder of the WBC lightweight title, which he retained.

 

Diego Gabriel Chaves lost his WBA ‘interim’ title when he was knocked out inside ten rounds by Keith Thurman at the AT & T Centre, San Antonio, Texas on 27 July.

4 May 2013. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w pts 12 Robert Guerrero.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Robert Byrd.

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

Fight Summary: With the vacant Ring Championship Belt on the line as well as his WBC title being at stake, Mayweather (146) controlled the fight with some ease against the WBC 'interim' champion, Guerrero (147), who was outclassed most of the way. Although Guerrero, a southpaw, won the seventh and 12th rounds according to the judges it was more to do with Mayweather taking time out than the challenger, who was cut over the left eye in the eighth. Picking his punches carefully throughout as Guerrero came on to them, Mayweather proved that there was still plenty of life left in his 36-year-old legs.

 

Mayweather defended his WBA junior middleweight title when outpointing Saul Alvarez at the MGM Grand on 14 September 2013. At the same time he picked up Alvarez’s WBC and Ring Championship Belt.

16 March 2013. Timothy Bradley w pts 12 Ruslan Provodnikov.

Venue: Home Depot Centre, Carson, California, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Pat Russell.

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

Fight Summary: Although the champion made a fast start, both hands pumping out, he was dropped by a right to the head that the referee saw as a slip and came under terrific pressure from Provodnikov (146½) before the opener came to an end. Hurt again in the second, Bradley (146½) fought back hard prior to getting blasted by a big left in the sixth that almost had him over. From thereon in Bradley boxed to instructions, sending out the jab while constantly moving as the Russian tried to turn it into a war. By the ninth, Provodnikov, who was cut over the left eye, was taking plenty of point-scoring punches, but back he came with solid blows to stagger Bradley in the 11th before dropping him in the 12th with a heavy right. Saved by the bell, Bradley received a narrow unanimous verdict for his pains.

20 October 2012. Devon Alexander w pts 12 Randall Bailey.

Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Arthur Mercante Jnr.

Scorecards: 116-110, 115-111, 117-109.

Fight Summary: Making sure that he stayed well clear of the champion's much vaunted power punches, Alexander (146¾), a southpaw and a former WBC and undefeated IBF junior welterweight title holder, racked up the rounds in negative fashion when jabbing before moving on. Unable to get close enough, Bailey (147) merely stalked his man, landing little of note throughout. There was also a lot of holding, both fighters having a point deducted for such an offence in the sixth. Despite not being interested in trading, the speedier Alexander did just enough to convince the judges without taking risks.

 

Alexander forced Lee Purdy to retire at the end of the seventh round at the Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey on 18 May 2013. Purdy had taken the place of Kell Brook, who was earlier ruled out by a foot injury. Intended to involve the IBF title, although Purdy (147¾) failed to make the weight the contest still went ahead with Alexander fulfilling his mandatory defence obligation.

9 June 2012. Timothy Bradley w pts 12 Manny Pacquiao.

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

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

Fight Summary: In a contest in which the CompuBox stats had the southpaw champion out-landing Bradley (146) in ten of the 12 rounds, many were shocked when the latter was awarded the split decision. Even though Pacquiao (147) had appeared to ease off during the final three sessions it was difficult to work out how and where the fight was lost. As Boxing News, the British weekly magazine, stated: "Received wisdom is that American judges habitually favour aggression, but Pacquiao was clearly the aggressor on this night, albeit in bursts rather than the non-stop mode of old. He definitely landed blows that had greater impact, heavy lefts forcing Bradley back far more often than the latter had him backing up." The general feeling afterwards was that there should be an immediate return. Coming to the ring as the WBC junior welterweight champion, Bradley relinquished that title within days of his win over Pacquiao. Bradley had earlier been an undefeated WBC/WBO junior welterweight title holder.

9 June 2012. Randall Bailey w rsc 11 Mike Jones.

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

Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Andre Berto had handed in his belt, Jones (146½) was in control of the former WBO junior welterweight champion, Bailey (146), virtually from the off. It was Jones' speed of hand and foot that Bailey could not deal with, being forced to take the jab time and again as his opponent put rounds in the bag. Coming into the tenth all Jones had to do was make sure that he did not get caught by the hard-hitting Bailey, but that is exactly what he failed to do when getting dropped by a straight right to the head. Having been put under a lot of pressure in the 11th, eventually Jones succumbed when he was floored by a right uppercut that landed squarely on his chin, and although trying to make it to his feet the referee called the action off at 2.52 of the session.

29 April 2012. Paul Malignaggi w rsc 9 Vyacheslav Senchenko.

Venue: Donbass Arena, Donetsk, Ukraine. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Smoger.

Fight Summary: Fighting on enemy territory it was a major shock when Malignaggi (146) wrested the title away from Senchenko (146¾), especially as the champion was up against a known non-puncher. Going with the left jab and moving well, the former undefeated IBF junior welterweight title holder led Senchenko a merry dance for several rounds, and by the sixth the left side of the latter's face was swollen and bruised. On top of that Senchenko was cut both on top and under the left eye. From thereon in, Malignaggi continued to counter Senchenko as he came on to the left hand, and at 1.10 of the ninth the referee halted the contest when it was clear that the Ukranian could hardly see out of his left eye and consequently was taking too many punches.

 

On 21 July, Diego Gabriel Chaves won the WBA ‘interim’ title when knocking out Ismael El Massoudi inside two rounds at the German Gymnastic Society Arena, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Chaves made a successful defence of the WBA ‘interim’ title when stopping Jose Miranda inside two rounds at Luna Park, Buenos Aires, Argentina on 22 September.

 

Due to defend the WBA title against Pablo Cesar Cano on 20 October at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA, Malignaggi went ahead with the contest despite his rival coming in over the weight. Unable to lose the added weight in the allotted time given him, Cano also lost the 12-round points decision.

12 November 2011. Manny Pacquiao w pts 12 Juan Manuel Marquez.

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

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

Fight Summary: In what was their third meeting, and made at 144lbs in order to suit both men, it was the southpaw champion who received the majority decision after winning four of the last five rounds on two of the cards as Marquez (142) tired. Extremely close, as their previous contests had been, it was also difficult to score as neither man landed eye-catching shots. With his hands held high and going with single jabs and right-hand counters, Marquez posed problems for Pacquiao (143) all night, the latter often following the Mexican around rather than making him fight his fight. Although cut on the right eye in the tenth and not at his best it did not stop Pacquiao's advance as Marquez ran out of gas.

17 September 2011. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w co 4 Victor Ortiz.

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

Fight Summary: Right from the opening bell this was Mayweather's fight as Ortiz (147) continually walked into countering blows and was outspeeded throughout. There were moments of joy for the southpaw champion, but they were few and far between as Mayweather (146½) placed himself exactly where he wanted to be. Having rushed Mayweather in the fourth and failed to land effectively, Ortiz was deducted a point for a deliberate head butt. There would be no way back for him after that as moments later an angry but focussed Mayweather slammed in a heavy left hook to the head, and with Ortiz still looking towards the referee he was decked by a right cross. Unable to get to his feet, Ortiz was counted out at 2.59 of the session after ignoring the maxim of protecting yourself at all times.

 

Now fighting at two different weights simultaneously, Mayweather won the WBA junior middleweight title when outscoring the champion, Miguel Cotto, over 12 rounds at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas on on 5 May 2012.

 

At the HP Pavilion, San Jose, California on 28 July 2012, Robert Guerrero outpointed Selcuk Aydin over 12 rounds to win the vacant WBC ‘interim’ title. Guerrero retained his ‘interim’ title when outpointing Andre Berto at the Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California, USA on 24 November 2012.

3 September 2011. Andre Berto w rtd 5 Jan Zaveck.

Venue: Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Fred Steinwinder.

Fight Summary: Having lost his WBC welterweight title last time out, Berto (146¾) came back to take the IBF version away from Zaveck (146½) after the latter was retired at the end of the fifth. Working well behind the jab, Berto made life difficult for Zaveck in the opening three rounds, the latter unable to get going due to the challenger's tactics. When Zaveck finally got to grips with Berto in the fourth it seemed as though the tide might have turned. Picking it up again in the fifth, Zaveck bundled into Berto, whose left eye was now swollen, and was dishing it out when both of his eyes were cut. Back in his corner at the end of the session, with his right eye now closed, it was all over.

 

After Berto relinquished the IBF title on 8 November in order to pursue a rematch with Victor Ortiz, Randall Bailey and Mike Jones were in pole position to find a new champion. Both men had come through eliminating contests, Bailey beating Jackson Osei Bonsu (w rsc 1 at the Lotto Arena, Merksem, Antwerp, Belgium on 19 March 2010) and then being involved in a two-round no-decision affair at the same venue against Said Ouali on 10 December 2010, while Jones had defeated Sebastian Andres Lujan (w pts 12 at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York on 3 December). Although the fight went out to purse bids in January 2012, it would not go on until the following June for a number of reasons.

26 August 2011. Vyacheslav Senchenko w rsc 6 Marco Antonio Avendano.

Venue: Donbass Arena, Donetsk, Ukraine. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Smoger.

Fight Summary: Regardless that the 38-year-old Avendano (146¾) started the better, moving in and out with the jab, the champion began to take over in the third when banging in some heavy shots to the head. Both men had been cut over their left eyes following a clash of heads in the opener, but neither seemed affected. With the fight going the way of Senchenko (146¾) he picked it up in the sixth when hurting Avendano with a solid straight right, and having avoided the latter's attempts to hold on he landed two rights and a left to the body to send him down. Not even bothering to pick up the count, the referee called the fight off on the 2.40 mark.

7 May 2011. Manny Pacquiao w pts 12 Shane Mosley.

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

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

Fight Summary: Despite not being at his best the southpaw champion still had too much for the 39-year-old Mosley (147), who was dropped heavily in the third by a short left to the side of the head that almost terminated the contest there and then. Somehow Mosley made it up, and although taking a battering at the hands of Pacquiao (145) he was still there at the bell. With Pacquiao suffering from leg cramps and Mosley still shell-shocked the fight turned into a boring affair that had the fans booing before it livened up in the last two rounds as the Filipino tried to stop it going to the cards.

16 April 2011. Victor Ortiz w pts 12 Andre Berto.

Venue: MGM Grand Theatre, Mashantucket, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Michael Ortega.

Scorecards: 114-112, 114-111, 115-110.

Fight Summary: Tearing out of his corner from the bell the southpaw challenger took the play away from Berto (145½) before dropping him with a left to the head that the referee ruled as a slip. Not giving Berto much rest in the opener, Ortiz (146) dropped his man again, this time with a right uppercut to the chin following a left-right that had paved the way. Just when you thought that Ortiz was en-route to a quick win he himself was floored by a straight right in the second. Despite Ortiz getting on top, the sixth saw him downed again by a crashing right. But when Berto came in to finish him off following the count he too was decked by a big left hook. Competitive all the way from thereon in, although Ortiz was deducted a point for hitting behind the head in the tenth it made no difference to the result.

18 February 2011. Jan Zaveck w rsc 5 Paul Delgado.

Venue: Sportspark Arena, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Benny Decroos.

Fight Summary: Getting away to a strong start, the champion hurt Delgado (145¾) early on with a right to the head before marching out in the second to drop the latter twice from further heavy rights to the head following barrages of blows that had softened him up. Fighting on bravely despite being cut over both eyes, Delgado stayed around until the fifth before the referee rescued him at 3.00 of the session after he had been hammered to the canvas by another big right. Zaveck (146¾), showing a high guard when required, had been in control throughout, his solid two-handed punching ultimately being too much for the brave but outgunned Delgado.

27 November 2010. Andre Berto w rsc 1 Freddy Hernandez.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Russell Mora.

Fight Summary: Taking his time while feeling Hernandez (147) out, there was very little action before Berto (145) suddenly whipped in a left-right to the jaw that sent the challenger crashing. Although Hernandez made it up at 'five' the referee stopped the contest on the 2.07 mark when believing that the latter was unprepared to continue. Following the decision, despite sending out the wrong message, Hernandez was adamant that he could have carried on.

4 September 2010. Jan Zaveck w pts 12 Rafal Jackiewicz.

Venue: Sportpark Arena, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Jean-Pierre Van Imschoot.

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

Fight Summary: As the only man to beat him in his career thus far, the champion gained revenge over Jackiewicz (146¾) when taking the majority decision in what was a hard-fought contest that see-sawed throughout. Dictating the action for the opening two rounds, banging away with both hands, Zaveck (146) soon found himself in a fight as Jackiewicz came back hard with punches of his own. All three judges had Zaveck winning the last two sessions as he pushed on, but regardless of the scorecards there never seemed to be much in it.

30 August 2010. Vyacheslav Senchenko w pts Charlie Jose Navarro.

Venue: Donbass Arena, Donetsk, Ukraine. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Smoger.

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

Fight Summary: Defending the title that was handed to him after Shane Mosley was stripped, Senchenko (146½) started carefully, working the jab, before opening up in the third and hurting Navarro (146) with a heavy uppercut followed by a right cross. Although Senchenko was able to box Navarro off for several rounds, in the sixth he came under pressure as the latter finally got to close quarters. With Senchenko tiring and Navarro getting to him, the last few sessions were closely contested but it was the champion's better quality that ultimately won the day.

 

On 14 July 2011, Ismael El Massoudi won the WBA ‘interim’ title when stopping the champion, Souleymane M'baye, in the 12th round at the Open Air Arena, Jemaa el-Fnaa Plaza, Marrakech, Morocco.

10 April 2010. Andre Berto w rsc 8 Carlos Quintana.

Venue: Bank-Atlantic Centre, Sunrise, Florida, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tommy Kimmons.

Fight Summary: In a tough no-holds-barred contest, the champion showed his resolve when coming through strongly to stop Quintana (146½) at 2.16 of the eighth round. Berto (146½) started well enough, but had to fight back after being hurt by a cracking southpaw overarm left that stunned him in the second. Fight back hard he did, two-fisted attacks forcing Quintana to give ground before the latter was deducted a point for hitting behind the head in the third. The battle raged on through the fourth as Quintana, now cut on the left eye, gave it all he had but was gradually being ground down. Having continually come back hard when under pressure, Quintana was eventually rescued by the referee in the eighth when he was shipping blows and had just taken a heavy right to the head.

9 April 2010. Jan Zaveck w rsc 12 Rodolfo Ezequiel Martinez.

Venue: Tivoli Sports Hall, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ingo Barrabas.

Fight Summary: Starting on the front foot the champion had too much power for Martinez (147), who was treated to heavy combinations for round after round in what was a fast-paced bout. Showing great fortitude, despite having little success against the hard-hitting Zaveck (147), the brave Martinez struggled on through the rounds until the referee had seen enough, stopping the contest with just 45 seconds remaining. Although Martinez wished to continue it was the right decision as he had been unable to stem the flow of punches coming his way.

13 March 2010. Manny Pacquiao w pts 12 Joshua Clottey.

Venue: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Rafael Ramos.

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

Fight Summary: Happy to give Clottey (147) a crack at his new title, Pacquiao (145¾) proceeded to hammer in solid southpaw blows, more than 1,200 of them to be precise, as the Ghanaian made for a difficult defensive target. The only round that Clottey might have won was the third, a batch of rights to the head earning Pacquiao's attention, but he was quickly back on the front foot when looking to open his challenger up with body shots, the right hook being his favoured weapon. For round after round the pattern was the same, Pacquiao's speed against Clottey's defence, and although the champion ended the fight cut below the right eye and carrying bruised features it was probably due to Clottey being much the heavier man on the night than punishment that was dished out, although the latter did get off some heavy blows in the tenth.

11 December 2009. Jan Zaveck w rsc 3 Isaac Hlatshwayo.

Venue: Wembley Indoor Arena, Johannesburg, South Africa. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Jen Chevalier.

Fight Summary: Making his initial defence, Hlatshwayo (146) was soon under pressure after the hard-hitting Zaveck (146½) hurt him with three heavy blows that sent him to the ropes early in the opener. Going on the back foot, Hlatshwayo survived the round, but was soon under attack in the second as Zaveck smashed in punches from both hands to the head, many of them being overarm swings. Battered down by a right hook to the jaw the South African looked a sorry sight, and in the third he was sent to the floor for an 'eight' count. After the fight resumed, when Hlatshwayo was sent crashing for the third time following heavy shots from both hands the referee rescued him at 2.55 of the session.

14 November 2009. Manny Pacquiao w rsc 12 Miguel Cotto.

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

Fight Summary: With his title on the line against the hammering southpaw, Pacquiao (144), although starting well Cotto (145) was soon under the cosh, being dropped in the third by a right to the body and a left to the head, and then again in the fourth by a crunching left uppercut to the head. Despite taking a battering, Cotto was always trying to fight back, but it was getting harder and harder for him as the rounds progressed. Even though Pacquiao was caught by solid lefts at times he merely shrugged them off before setting up further assaults. Gamely fighting on while ignoring a badly cut left eye and facial swellings, when Cotto was stunned in the 12th by heavy combinations the referee stopped the fight 55 seconds into the session. Pacquiao became a champion at five different weights on winning, having previously been an undefeated title holder at flyweight (WBC), at junior featherweight (IBF), at junior lightweight (WBC) and at lightweight (WBC).

1 August 2009. Isaac Hlatshwayo w pts 12 Delvin Rodriguez.

Venue: Mohegun Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Steve Smoger.

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

Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Joshua Clottey was stripped, it was Hlatshwayo (146¼) who won the split decision after the pair had fought a draw in an eliminating contest a few months earlier. Although Rodriguez (147) shaded the opening three rounds, once the South African got his left jab going he began to control the bout within reason. There was still plenty of scrappy fighting going on, especially on the inside, but in the last three sessions it was Hlatshwayo who landed the cleaner blows.

13 June 2009. Miguel Cotto w pts 12 Joshua Clottey.

Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Arthur Mercante Jnr.

Scorecards: 116-111, 115-112, 113-114.

Fight Summary: Cotto (146) putting his title on the line against the former undefeated IBF champion, Clottey (147), who had been stripped for taking this fight, made an excellent start when dropping the Ghanaian with a straight left in the opener. However, from thereon in there was never much between them, as Clottey marched forward to take the play away from Cotto, blocking many blows while dishing out his own. Cut over the left eye in the third after heads came together, Cotto was forced to make changes. In the fifth Clottey crashed to the floor after being pushed, injuring his left knee, but in winning the sixth through to the eighth he was in poll position. For whatever reason, Clottey failed to take advantage of the situation, and it was the more aggressive Cotto who came home to take the split decision.

30 May 2009. Andre Berto w pts 12 Juan Urango.

Venue: Seminole Hard Rock Arena, Hollywood, Florida, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tommy Kimmons.

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

Fight Summary: Moving around the ring at speed for round after round, banging in countering blows before moving on, Berto (145¼) made his southpaw challenger look foolish at times. As the IBF junior welterweight champion, Urango (146½) gave it his best shot but was wide open to the left jab-left hooks that came his way, winning two rounds at most. Having disappointed in recent fights, Berto showed what he was made of in this one.

21 February 2009. Miguel Cotto w rsc 5 Michael Jennings.

Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Benjy Esteves Jnr.

Fight Summary: Fighting to decide the vacant title after Paul Williams decided to move up a division, Cotto (146) had far too much experience at this level for Jennings (146½) and it showed. With Jennings on the back foot from the opening bell Cotto took his time when cutting off the ring, but after pouncing in the fourth he had the Englishman over twice from left hooks to the body. The knockdowns followed a battery of blows from both hands that had already stunned Jennings, who finished the session with a cut left eye. Dropped again, this time in the fifth, from a straight right to the head, although Jennings got to his feet the referee decided that he was not fit to continue and pulled him out on the 2.36 mark.

24 January 2009. Shane Mosley w rsc 9 Antonio Margarito.

Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Raul Caiz.

Fight Summary: At the age of 38, Mosley (147) showed that he was still a player when stopping the champion in the ninth round, having given a tip-top performance in the art of boxing from the opening bell. Taking control from the off, with jabs and solid rights going in up and down, just when it looked as though Mosley was tiring from his exertions in the fourth Margarito (145¾) was staggered by some heavy right-handers. In the sixth Margarito was badly hurt by another batch of rights, and in the eighth he was eventually dropped after taking several punches from both hands full on. Getting up to be saved by the bell, Margarito had nowhere to hide in the ninth, being caught by blow after blow until the referee, seeing the towel coming in, came to his rescue 43 seconds into the round. It was no surprise that Margarito collapsed to the deck once Mosley had been pulled off him.

 

When Mosley was promoted to ‘super’ champion status by the WBA, Yuriy Nuzhnenko, the ‘interim’ title holder, was outpointed over 12 rounds by Vyacheslav Senchenko at the Sports Palace, Donetsk, Ukraine on 10 April. In a battle between Ukrainians, Senchenko would be seen as the new ‘second tier’ champion.

 

Later in the year, on 3 October, at the Druzhba Sports Palace, Donetsk, Ukraine, Senchenko outpointed Motoki Sasaki over 12 rounds to retain the ‘second tier’ title.

 

After Mosley was beaten by Floyd Mayweather Jnr (l pts 12 at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada on 1 May 2010) in a fight at the welterweight limit, when he was stripped of his ‘super’ champion title on 22 May Senchenko was promoted to full championship status. The Mosley v Mayweather contest had gone ahead as a non-title fight after the latter refused to pay the sanctioning fee.

 

Souleymane M'baye outpointed Antonin Decarie over 12 rounds at the Marcel Cerdan Sports Palace, Levallois-Perret, France on 28 May 2010 to win the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title.

17 January 2009. Andre Berto w pts 12 Luis Collazo.

Venue: Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Keith Hughes.

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

Fight Summary: Giving as good as he got the southpaw challenger tested Berto (146) in this one, and although the latter won unanimously it was too close for comfort. Having started well with a right-left in the opener that almost had Berto over, Collazo (145½) was continually held early on, the champion eventually being deducted a point for the offence in the fourth. Berto began to come on in the fifth, knocking Collazo's gumshield out with a solid right, before running off the next three sessions when slowing the latter down with body shots. Although Collazo came back well in the ninth and tenth, by taking the final two rounds when pressing hard, Berto made the decision his.

27 September 2008. Andre Berto w pts 12 Steve Forbes.

Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: James Jen-Kin.

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

Fight Summary: Making his first defence against a former junior lightweight champion in Forbes (147), a 31-year-old veteran, Berto (145½) initially had his hands full before sorting himself out to win going away. Exhibiting great hand-speed and movement, allied to good power, Berto began to mix up his punches more and more as the contest moved on, while Forbes, cut on the left eye in the third following a head clash, showed his skill when making the champion work for victory. The common consensus afterwards was that Berto should be looking to meet the top men in the division before too long.

2 August 2008. Joshua Clottey w tdec 9 Zab Judah.

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

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

Fight Summary: In a contest to decide the vacancy that arose when Antonio Margarito handed in his belt, Clottey (147) won the title on a technical decision at 1.12 of the ninth after Judah (143) sustained a badly cut right eye. Prior to that there was little between them, both landing solidly at times, Judah with southpaw shots up and down and Clottey banging in straight rights. With Clottey getting on top in the ninth, when Judah's right eye was gashed by a left uppercut the referee called for the cards on the ringside doctor's advice. Despite Judah claiming it was a butt that caused the damage he was correctly overruled by the third man. Following the contest it was learned that Clottey would be out of action for several months, having injured his left bicep in the fourth or fifth round.

 

Clottey forfeited his title on 16 April 2009 after signing for a fight against the WBO champion, Miguel Cotto. Further to that, Isaac Hlatshwayo and Delvin Rodriguez were contracted to settle the vacancy after boxing a debatable 12-round draw at the Emperor’s Palace, Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa on 17 November in an eliminating contest. Rodriguez had gone on to beat Shamone Alvarez (w pts 12 at the Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut on 6 March 2009).

26 July 2008. Antonio Margarito w rsc 11 Miguel Cotto.

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

Fight Summary: Having given up the IBF title to take Cotto (147) on, Margarito (147) justified his decision when stopping the champion at 2.05 of the 11th. The faster and more precise Cotto had gone well at first, taking four of the opening five rounds, but after Margarito stepped it up in the sixth he took over when gradually grinding his man down. By the latter stages of the tenth Cotto was being overwhelmed, and into the 11th he was dropped by a heavy left and two straight rights. Although he was quickly back into the fray, Cotto was soon decked again when he was blasted to the floor by two rights to the jaw, having been sent to the bottom strand earlier in the round without a count. At that point, with the towel on its way into the ring, the referee called a halt to proceedings.

21 June 2008. Andre Berto w rsc 7 Miguel Angel Rodriguez.

Venue: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Laurence Cole.

Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Floyd Mayweather handed in his belt, Berto (146) proved to be a cut above Rodriguez (145) before stopping the latter at 2.13 of the seventh. With his speed around the ring and fast hands, Berto looked to be an accomplished performer when setting up attack after attack. By the sixth, even though Berto was totally dominant, Rodriguez was always trying to fight back, but in the seventh his days were numbered. Dropped by a right uppercut that followed a right hook, although Rodriguez made it up and was allowed to fight on, the moment he was downed again by a solid one-two the referee stepped in.

7 June 2008. Paul Williams w rsc 1 Carlos Quintana.

Venue: Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Eddie Claudio.

Fight Summary: A return match and an all southpaw affair, Williams (145¾) took swift revenge on the champion when regaining his title after just 135 seconds of the opening session. There would be no mistakes this time round as Williams found a big left to stagger Quintana (146), who stumbled around before three more powerful lefts smashed him to the deck. Although Quintana was up at 'eight' he was quickly set upon, and when two more heavy lefts had him over again, dragging Williams down as he went to the floor, the referee stopped the contest.

 

Williams relinquished the WBO title on 12 November to contest the WBO ‘interim’ junior middleweight championship, which was followed by an announcement that Miguel Cotto would be meeting Michael Jennings in order to find a new champion.

12 April 2008. Miguel Cotto w rsc 5 Alfonso Gomez.

Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Randy Neumann.

Fight Summary: Dominating from the opening bell, the champion got his left jab going early as well as banging in solid body shots to slow Gomez (147) down and open him up. Hurt at the end of the opener, Gomez was dropped in the second after several lefts and rights were finished off by a right to the body, and he was down again in the third courtesy of a left hook to the body. Constantly switching between southpaw and orthodox Cotto (146½) confused Gomez who was floored for the third time by a straight left in the fifth, and at the end of the session the referee stopped the contest on the advice of the ringside doctor.

 

Defending the WBA ‘interim’ title, Yuriy Nuzhnenko retained his crown following a ten-round technical draw against Irving Garcia on 19 April at the Sports Palace, Kiev, Ukraine.

12 April 2008. Antonio Margarito w co 6 Kermit Cintron.

Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Earl Brown.

Fight Summary: Having already had a beating at the hands of Margarito (146½) three years earlier, the champion took another one in this rematch before he was counted out at 1.57 of the sixth. Standing right in front of Cintron (146½), banging in solid body shots throughout while virtually ignoring the heavy leather coming his way, Margarito took all the rounds on the cards other than the first. Finally, in the sixth Margarito found the punches he had been looking for, a cracking right to the head that was followed by a left hook to the body bringing the contest to an end.

 

Further to the win over Cintron, the IBF ordered Margarito to take in a mandatory defense against the organization's number-one contender, Joshua Clottey, whom Margarito had previously defeated in 2006. Rather than agreeing to the match with Clottey, Margarito vacated the IBF title in May and agreed to meet the undefeated WBA champion Miguel Cotto for the latter’s crown. Following that, Clottey, who had beaten Shamone Alvarez (w pts 12 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada on 20 December 2007) in an eliminator, and Zab Judah were signed up to battle for the vacant crown.

9 February 2008. Carlos Quintana w pts 12 Paul Williams.

Venue: Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula, California, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jack Reiss.

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

Fight Summary: In this all-southpaw battle it was the challenger who started the better, jumping in with solid rights and lefts that Williams (146¾) seemed powerless to stop, and making it difficult for the latter to pick him up. Having set a terrific pace, by the seventh with Quintana (146¾) beginning to tire it was Williams who looked to pick it up from thereon in, but he failed to take advantage. In fact, the contest was ultimately decided in the last four rounds, Williams winning just one of them on the cards as Quintana came back strongly. According to one ringside critic, it was Quintana who landed the heaviest punches throughout and thus deserved the win.

8 December 2007. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w rsc 10 Ricky Hatton.

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

Fight Summary: Rattling up the rounds against the tough Hatton (145) the two-belt champion showed his class when overcoming a rival who was still in the fight come the fifth round, even if he was behind on the cards. It was after Hatton was deducted a point for hitting Mayweather (147) on the back of the head in the sixth that the latter began to warm up, picking his punches with deliberation and drawing his man on to him. Having been cut over the right eye in the third Hatton ploughed on, but in the tenth he ran headlong into a tremendous left hook that smashed him to the floor, via a ring post. Although Hatton made it to his feet and was allowed to box on, when he was caught heavily by a left-right-left the referee stopped the contest just as he was collapsing to the floor. The finish was timed at 1.35 of the tenth.

 

Further to Mayweather’s announcement on 6 June 2008 that he was retiring, a forthcoming match between Andre Berto and Miguel Angel Rodriguez was recognised by the WBC as being for the vacant title. In the light of the above, The Ring magazine’s version of the world title became vacant on 29 June.

23 November 2007. Kermit Cintron w rsc 10 Jesse Feliciano.

Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Jon Schorle.

Fight Summary: With a three-inch reach advantage over Feliciano (147) it was no surprise that the champion used long lefts and rights to keep the latter at bay. In the second, however, Feliciano was at close quarters where he was able to nullify much of Cintron's efforts, even hurting the latter with solid shots. Come the fifth, although Cintron (146¾) was catching Feliciano with heavy shots the latter was prepared to walk through them to land more of his own. While Cintron was winning the rounds on the scorecards Feliciano was always there looking to halt his progress, but in the tenth all of his good work came undone after he was caught by several big punches that left him dazed and open. Despite trying to hold on, Feliciano was rescued by the referee on the 1.53 mark after two more heavy rights crashed into him.

10 November 2007. Miguel Cotto w pts 12 Shane Mosley.

Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Benjy Esteves Jnr.

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

Fight Summary: The champion started well enough against the 36-year-old Mosley (146¼), keeping his left going while looking to notch up the points and bang over the occasional right hand. Although Mosley was never out of the contest and landed heavy overarm rights on Cotto (146¼) at times he was too slow to follow up any opportunities. All three judges had Mosley winning five rounds, while Cotto, who could have upped the pace had he needed to, always appeared to be in control.

 

On 8 December, at the Sports Palace, Le Cannet, France, Yuriy Nuzhnenko outpointed Frederic Klose over 12 rounds to win the WBA ‘interim’ title.

14 July 2007. Paul Williams w pts 12 Antonio Margarito.

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

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

Fight Summary: A tall southpaw, Williams (145½) got his jab working quickly as he looked to outbox the hard-hitting champion, but it was his solid left-hand punching that was one of the main reasons that the title ended up with him. Margarito (145¾) was always dangerous and worked the body well, but many of his crude swinging blows were evaded. Regardless of that it still appeared to be close for many of those watching despite the CompuBox stats showing that Williams landed with 228 punches to Margarito's 181.

14 July 2007. Kermit Cintron w rsc 2 Walter Dario Matthysse.

Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Earl Morton.

Fight Summary: Up against a tough banger in Matthysse (147), the champion mixed it up from the bell, his straighter blows being the difference. With Cintron (146) going well, towards the end of the opening round a crashing right to the jaw had the Argentine over for the 'eight' count. No sooner had Matthysse come out for the second was he dropped by another heavy right as Cintron unloaded, and on getting to his feet and being smashed down again by a left hook to the head the referee dispensed with the count to allow the medics into the ring. The finish came just 29 seconds into the session.

9 June 2007. Miguel Cotto w rsc 11 Zab Judah.

Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Arthur Mercante Jnr.

Fight Summary: Looking to get his hands on his old title, the southpaw challenger made a decent start, a countering left uppercut hurting Cotto (146½) in the opener before he was dropped by a low blow and given five minutes of time out to recover. Surprisingly, Judah did not take up the allocated time fully. Following a tough second, Cotto was deducted a point in the third when hitting Judah (145) low again. By the sixth, with both men cut on their right eyes and Cotto's heavy jabs beginning to take over, Judah came back with some big punches of his own in the seventh but was unable to discourage the champion. Getting right on top in the eighth despite taking the occasional heavy shot, Cotto dropped Judah in the ninth following a two-fisted attack. With Judah's right eye closing fast, Cotto carried on with the battering into the 11th before dropping his man, a left-right-left combination doing the business. On his feet again, but still dazed, Judah was rescued by the referee on the 49 second mark when he was shipping punches having fallen into the ropes.

3 March 2007. Miguel Cotto w rsc 11 Oktay Urkal.

Venue: Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.

Fight Summary: Making his first defence, Cotto (147) began strongly, scoring with solid blows to the body as he looked to slow the tough Urkal (146) down, and although the latter was still in the contest the champion was picking up the rounds. Cut over the left eye from a head butt in the sixth Cotto turned southpaw to avoid further damage, but when Urkal continued with dangerous headwork he had points deducted in the seventh and 11th. Following the last transgression, when Urkal's corner signalled that they wanted the fight stopped as their man was too far behind the referee obliged, the stoppage coming at 1.01 of the session.

2 December 2006. Miguel Cotto w rtd 5 Carlos Quintana.

Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Smoger.

Fight Summary: With the vacant title up for grabs after Ricky Hatton had handed in his belt, Quintana (147), a southpaw, made a fairly solid start when keeping it long as Cotto (146) tried to close the distance. The fourth saw the former undefeated IBF junior welterweight title holder getting close enough to land his heavier shots on Quintana, having had to take time out in the third after being hit low. Tearing out for the fifth with the bit between the teeth, with Quintana's right eye closing Cotto had him over with a left to the body. Although Quintana just about made it to his feet he was quickly put down again with a similar blow that took everything from him, and despite making it to the bell he was retired by his corner at the end of the session.

2 December 2006. Antonio Margarito w pts 12 Joshua Clottey.

Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Benjy Esteves Jnr.

Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 118-109.

Fight Summary: Clottey (147) started well when winning three of the opening four rounds before damaging his left hand, an injury that let the champion back into the contest. With Margarito (147) sensing that Clottey had a problem he slammed into the latter round after round without being able to floor the teak-tough Ghanaian. In the ninth, Margarito dished out so much punishment that one of the judges marked it as a 10-8 round. Although Clottey hung in and came back well in the final session the decision was never in doubt.

4 November 2006. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w pts 12 Carlos Baldomir.

Venue: Bay Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Jay Nady.

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

Fight Summary: Despite being outjabbed and losing the opening two rounds, the two-belt champion was working the body well while looking to slow Mayweather (146) down in the latter stages. However, by the sixth Baldomir (147) was being outboxed and unable to find a way through Mayweather's defences. It was later learned that Mayweather was using his right hand sparingly from here onwards as had injured it, but it made no difference to the way the fight was going. An easy win for Mayweather, the CompuBox stats showed that the latter scored with 199 from 458 thrown, while Baldomir had landed just 79 times from his 670 output.

 

Shane Mosley outpointed Luis Collazo over 12 rounds at the Bay Hotel on 10 February 2007, winning the WBC ‘interim’ title in the process.

28 October 2006. Kermit Cintron w rsc 5 Mark Suarez.

Venue: The County Convention Centre, Palm Beach, Florida, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Frank Santore Jnr.

Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Floyd Mayweather handed in his belt, Cintron (146) was the man who took advantage of the situation when stopping Suarez (146¼) at 2.53 of the fifth. Although Cintron was knocked down from a blatant rabbit punch in the opener, for which Suarez got off with a warning, it was not until the third round that he began to take over. Going with the jab in the fourth, Cintron walked through some heavy blows to get his left hook on target and in the fifth, after knocking Suarez over for the 'eight' count with a solid left, the latter was being battered without response when the referee stepped in to rescue him.

22 July 2006. Carlos Baldomir w rsc 9 Arturo Gatti.

Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Wayne Hedgpeth.

Fight Summary: Outboxed from the beginning, his hard career catching up with him as the rounds passed by, Gatti (147) gave it everything he had left against a two-belt champion who continually caught him with the jab and was a hardy customer to boot. In the eighth it was clear that Gatti, cut under the right eye, was struggling as Baldomir (147) raised the tempo, and he twice went to the floor from what were classified as slips but seemed more than that. Coming out for the ninth intending to finish there and then, with Baldomir smashing in several heavy blows a left hook saw Gatti crash to the floor. Although Gatti just about made it up he was rescued by the referee at 2.50 of the session after he had gone down again.

13 May 2006. Ricky Hatton w pts 12 Luis Collazo.

Venue: TD Bank North Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: John Zablocki.

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

Fight Summary: Collazo (147), who was making his first defence of the title that was handed to him after Zab Judah had been stripped, was dropped by a short left in the opening seconds as Hatton (147) got away quickly. There was never that much between them, two rounds at most, and Hatton admitted afterwards that the southpaw champion's punches hurt him throughout. In the final session Collazo hammered in a barrage of blows that saw the former undefeated junior welterweight title holder go down for what the referee felt was a slip, and although the latter, tired from his exertions, stayed upright from thereon in he took further heavy blows prior to the bell. In what had been a tough, close fight, the unanimous decision could have gone either way.

 

Hatton relinquished the title on 31 August rather than defend against the mandatory challenger, Oktay Urkal. Following that decision it was decided that Miguel Cotto would meet Carlos Quintana for the vacant title, with the winner making his first defence against Urkal.

8 April 2006. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w pts 12 Zab Judah.

Venue: Thomas & Mack Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Richard Steele.

Scorecards: 116-112, 117-111, 119-109.

Fight Summary: Due to Mayweather (146) starting slowly, the reinstated champion picked up the opening two rounds before the former undefeated three-weight world title holder for the WBC at junior lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight came back, throwing combinations to head and body that forced him to the ropes and negated his movement. Apart from the final session which Judah (145½) won as he looked to turn things around it was all Mayweather, who had no difficulty with his opponent's southpaw stance. The only problem Mayweather had was when his uncle and trainer, Roger Mayweather, a former junior welterweight champion, jumped into the ring during the tenth to complain that his fighter had been hit below the belt and on the back of the neck. The result was a five-minute breathing period before resumption with neither Judah being warned for foul blows or Mayweather being disqualified for the actions of his corner.

 

On 15 August it was announced that Mayweather had relinquished the IBF title in order to challenge Baldomir for the WBA crown, rather than defend against the little known Mark Suarez, who had beaten James Webb (w rsc 1 at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York on 7 January) in an eliminating bout. Following this action, Suarez was booked to meet Kermit Cintron to contest the vacant title. Cintron had also won an eliminator against David Estrada (w rsc 10 the Convention Centre, Palm Beach, Florida) on 19 April.

18 February 2006. Antonio Margarito w rsc 1 Manuel Gomez.

Venue: Aladdin Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Richard Steele.

Fight Summary: In a battle between fellow Mexicans, the champion demolished Gomez (147) inside 74 seconds. The contest had begun with both men swinging heavy blows at each other, but after Margarito (146½) caught Gomez with a heavy left hook to the jaw that was followed by a right to the same area the latter crashed to the floor. When the referee dispensed with the count at 'six' it was all over.

7 January 2006. Carlos Baldomir w pts 12 Zab Judah.

Venue: MSG Theatre, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Arthur Mercante Jnr.

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

Fight Summary: After reeling off five of the opening six rounds, when the southpaw champion was caught heavily by a Baldomir (146¼) overarm right in the seventh he was all at sea as the latter desperately tried to finish him off in what was a 10-8 round on all three cards. Despite Baldomir being cut over both eyes, the left in the ninth and the right in the 11th, he continued to crank up the pressure as Judah (146¾) tired. Coming into the final session there was still a chance that Judah could pull it off, but that was before he was outworked by a rampant Baldomir.

 

When Baldomir refused to pay sanctioning fees to both the WBA and IBF, the WBA title passed to their ‘second tier’ champion, Luis Collazo, while the IBF continued to recognise Judah despite his defeat at the hands of the Argentine.

14 May 2005. Zab Judah w rsc 3 Cosme Rivera.

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

Fight Summary: Defending four championship belts for the first time, and not wishing to lose one of them by default, Judah (146½) quickly had Rivera (147) in some difficulty when smashing him down in the opener with a southpaw left to the jaw. Back on his feet but dazed, Rivera was soon on the deck again following a flurry of blows. Although he lasted out the round and got through the second he would not be so lucky thereafter. Appearing to take it easy in the early stages of the third Judah eventually moved in on Rivera, and following a left uppercut to the jaw another flurry of punches had the latter down. That was it as far as the referee was concerned, the contest being called off at 2.11 of the session.

 

Luis Collazo made a successful defence of the WBA ‘second tier’ title when Miguel Angel Gonzalez retired at the end of the seventh round at the United Centre, Chicago, Illinois on 13 August.

23 April 2005. Antonio Margarito w rsc 5 Kermit Cintron.

Venue: Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Kenny Bayless.

Fight Summary: Having knocked out 22 of 24 opponents, the ‘interim’ title holder, Cintron (146½), who was seen as the division’s biggest puncher, went looking for Margarito (147) at every opportunity. Unfortunately for Cintron the champion took his best shots before hurting him in the third and opening up a cut over his right eye. Dropped by a right to the head in the fourth, although Cintron got up he was soon put down again before Margarito went for the jugular in the fifth. On the deck for the third time from another hard right to the head, Cintron was then blasted from both hands prior to being floored for the fourth time by a terrific right to the body, whereupon the referee called off the contest on the 2.12 mark.

18 February 2005. Antonio Margarito w rsc 10 Sebastian Lujan.

Venue: Boardwalk Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: David Fields.

Fight Summary: Up until the third round it was anybody’s fight, but once the slow-starting champion got himself going when pumping out the left jab and getting his uppercut on the move Lujan (146) was up against it. By the fifth Margarito (147) was working well to the body, and in the sixth according to the CompuBox stats he threw a staggering 144 punches, landing with 54 of them. Things were not going well for Lujan. After being rocked badly in the tenth when the referee noticed that part of his left ear was flapping the fight was called off, with three seconds of the session remaining.

5 February 2005. Zab Judah w rsc 9 Cory Spinks.

Venue: Savvis Centre, St Louis, Missouri, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Armando Garcia.

Fight Summary: Gaining revenge for the defeat Spinks (147) inflicted on him five months earlier, and at the same time taking over the latter’s four championship belts, Judah (146) proved emphatically that he was the better man on the night. Making a good start in this battle of southpaws after deciding that speed was in his favour, the former IBF and undefeated WBO junior welterweight title holder was soon beating Spinks to the jab. Judah was travelling so fast, Spinks just could not find him. Although it looked as though Judah was possibly fading in the fifth and sixth he came back strongly in the seventh when he appeared to have dropped Spinks with a left cross-right hook, but the referee failed to recognise it as a knockdown, stating that the bell had already sounded. By the ninth, however, Judah had taken over completely and, after landing punch after punch to put Spinks down, when the latter got to his feet he was chased, lurching along the ropes, before being rescued by the referee with 11 seconds of the session remaining.

 

Jose Antonio Rivera lost the WBA ‘second tier’ title to Luis Collazo when he was outpointed over 12 rounds at the DCU Centre, Worcester, Massachusetts on 2 April.

4 September 2004. Cory Spinks w pts 12 Miguel Angel Gonzalez.

Venue: Bay Events Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Joe Cortez.

Scorecards: 118-109, 118-109, 118-109.

Fight Summary: Putting up his four championship belts for the second time, Spinks (147) was just too big and too fast for Gonzalez (146½) to handle. In the main, as Gonzalez pushed forward with the right the champion would counter him with southpaw left-right combinations. The former world lightweight champion obviously thought his best chance lay in going for the body, having had fair success in this direction before being docked a point in the eighth for a serious low blow. Although the Mexican went well in the ninth, following that it was nearly all Spinks, the latter giving an excellent display when landing jab after jab prior to moving away and countering with quality shots from both hands.

10 April 2004. Cory Spinks w pts 12 Zab Judah.

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

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

Fight Summary: This clash of southpaws saw Spinks (147) outscore his challenger in a contest that was more like a fencing match between very clever tacticians. Behind on the cards, Judah (146) tried to step it up in the 11th, only to be put down by a countering left to the jaw, and although getting up smartly and boxing well for the rest of the session it seemed that he had lost his chance. Having to win by a knockout Judah opened up in the 12th, going close on a couple of occasions before ramming in a solid left that dropped Spinks heavily. On his feet at ‘five’, but on unsteady legs, Spinks was forced to take a solid right hook that had him holding on immediately prior to the bell to end the fight.

31 January 2004. Antonio Margarito w rsc 2 Hercules Kyvelos.

Venue: Dodge Theatre, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Raul Caiz.

Fight Summary: Even though the challenger was unbeaten in 22 contests he had never fought anyone as good as Margarito (146¾), and while he had a decent jab he was unable to stop all the leather going in his direction, virtually being punched around the ring in the opening session. To his credit, Kyvelos (147) gave it his best shot in the second, but he was soon under pressure before being sent crashing by a left uppercut and a heavy right to the head. After getting up and being put under attack without any let-up, the referee, having seen the Canadian’s corner intimating that they wanted Kyvelos out of the fight, stopped it 54 seconds into the session.

 

At the Reliant Centre, Houston, Texas on 17 July, Kermit Cintron stopped Teddy Reid in the eighth round of a contest to decide the vacant WBO ‘interim’ title and to secure a crack at Margarito.

13 December 2003. Cory Spinks w pts 12 Ricardo Mayorga.

Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Earl Morton.

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

Fight Summary: In a fight involving four championship belts the IBF's Spinks (146) eventually won the majority verdict. However, in so doing he had to rely on Mayorga (146) being deducted two points for hitting after the bell in the fifth and holding behind the head in the 11th. Spinks, who was too slippery and by the far the better stylist of the pair, had to contend with wild rushes from Mayorga throughout, but sticking to his boxing he was often able to bang in countering blows before moving on. According to Mayorga, Spinks should have been counted on at least three times. He certainly had a legitimate case in the last round when Spinks was dropped by a right to the body. Unfortunately for the Nicaraguan, because his style was not always conducive to the rules the officials saw it as being more of a push than a punch.

22 March 2003. Cory Spinks w pts 12 Michele Piccirillo.

Venue: The Casino, Campione D’Italia, Italy. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Mario Maianti.

Scorecards: 117-112, 117-111, 115-113.

Fight Summary: Dominating from the opening bell with the southpaw jab, the tricky challenger proved too awkward and too slick for Piccirillo (146½) this time round when setting a very fast pace. Although Piccirillo occasionally connected with solid right crosses he was being outworked by Spinks (146¼), and although the Italian came on strong in the last few sessions it was a matter of too little, too late. On winning the title, Spinks emulated his father (Leon) and uncle (Michael), who were also world champions.

8 February 2003. Antonio Margarito w rsc 2 Andrew Lewis.

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

Fight Summary: Despite making a reasonable start, punching much harder and faster than the champion, when trying to repeat his earlier successes in the second round Lewis (147) came unstuck. Tearing into Margarito (146½) and letting go several big shots it looked like a shock was on the cards, but after Lewis was eventually driven back against the ropes by a fusillade of heavy blows the referee rescued him on the 2.31 mark when he was not fighting back.

25 January 2003. Ricardo Mayorga w rsc 3 Vernon Forrest.

Venue: Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula, California, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Marty Denkin.

Fight Summary: Fighting to unify three belts, the WBA's Mayorga (146) proved to be too strong for Forrest (146½), the WBC champion and holder of The Ring Championship Belt, the latter being dragged into a war of attrition by his powerful rival. On the attack from the opening bell the wild-swinging Mayorga, smashing in big left hooks and heavy rights, put Forrest down with a head punch. Although it did not look a genuine knockdown it was classified as one. Following this, Forrest took the fight to Mayorga in the second round, matching him when whacking in left hooks to the body and right uppercuts to the head. There was more of the same in the third, but after having no effect on Mayorga and being hurt by a solid right to the temple, the WBC champion was sent to the floor by lefts and rights as the Nicaraguan unloaded. Despite getting back on his feet Forrest appeared unstable, and at 2.06 of the session the referee called the fight off to make sure that the latter took no further punishment that night.

 

On 13 September, a contest for the vacant WBA ‘second tier’ title saw Jose Antonio Rivera beat Michel Trabant (w pts 12 at the Estrel Convention Centre, Berlin, Germany).

12 October 2002. Antonio Margarito w pts 12 Danny Perez.

Venue: Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, California, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jon Schorle.

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

Fight Summary: Although Perez (145½) gave it his best shot when proving to be a plucky challenger, Margarito (146½) never once relaxed his hold on the title while walking to a shut-out victory. Both men concentrated on the left jab, but while Margarito scored again and again, following up with left hooks to head and body, Perez found his route normally blocked off and was too one-paced. By the sixth, with Perez almost out of ideas, Margarito was unrelenting when working up and down with hooks and hard rights to the head. Several times Perez looked as though he was going to go, especially in the 11th when he was caught heavily, but he remained on his feet to hear the final bell.

20 July 2002. Vernon Forrest w pts 12 Shane Mosley.

Venue: Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Laurence Cole.

Scorecards: 115-113, 116-112, 117-111.

Fight Summary: Having proved to be the master of Mosley (147) in their first fight the WBC champion and holder of The Ring Championship Belt continued to be the latter’s bogeyman when repeating the dose in what was a contest without thrills, possibly due to both men knowing each other too well. As before, Forrest (147) used his extra reach to keep Mosley at bay. Due to the continual clutching by both men the fight never flowed, and because there were no knockdowns the interest ebbed away despite hard punches being thrown on occasion. Mosley’s best round was the ninth when he landed several good shots, but unable to follow up as Forrest moved away by the 12th it was clear that the belts were not going to change hands.

13 April 2002. Michele Piccirillo w pts 12 Cory Spinks.

Venue: The Casino, Campione D’Italia, Italy. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Rafael Argiolis.

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

Fight Summary: Meeting for the title forfeited by Vernon Forrest, Spinks (146½) began behind the southpaw jab to win the opening two rounds, but by the third Piccirillo (147) had picked up the pace, being always dangerous with a solid right cross as he took the next four sessions. Having been cut on the right eye in the fifth and lost a point in the sixth for illegal use of the head Spinks was now behind, and although he came back strongly when outworking the Italian over the final round or so he was unable to make up the deficit.

30 March 2002. Ricardo Mayorga w rsc 5 Andrew Lewis.

Venue: Sovereign Centre, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Rudy Battle.

Fight Summary: Following on from their no-decision encounter in July 2001, Mayorga (145½) walked into the southpaw champion from the opening bell, throwing crude punches, and by the third round it had developed into a wild, hard-slugging affair as both men got drawn in. Although Lewis (147) appeared to be settling down in the fourth, landing solidly at times, he was failing to use the jab enough before being made to pay in the fifth as Mayorga jumped on him with rights and lefts. Badly hurt by wild combinations, after a terrific right to the jaw rocked Lewis he was sent crashing by more heavy rights. Struggling to his feet at ‘six’, Lewis was rescued by the referee at 1.08 of the session when unable to focus and being in no fit state to continue.

16 March 2002. Antonio Margarito w rsc 10 Antonio Diaz.

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

Fight Summary: Contesting the vacant title, with Margarito (146½) pumping out both hands from the start although Diaz (147) came back to win the second by dint of a better technique the Mexican charged ahead, throwing punches frenetically at times. Margarito continued to dictate the pace, even outboxing the well-schooled Diaz in the seventh while also hurting him with long left uppercuts. In the tenth, with Margarito still busy behind the jab he finally got to Diaz with a doubled-up uppercut that dropped him to the floor. After gamely climbing to his feet and being battered by head punches, the referee called a halt at 2.17 of the session to save Diaz from taking further punishment.

26 January 2002. Vernon Forrest w pts 12 Shane Mosley.

Venue: MSG Theatre, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Steve Smoger.

Scorecards: 118-108, 117-108, 115-110.

Fight Summary: In what was a huge upset, Forrest (147) dropped the WBC champion twice and hurt him badly on more than one occasion prior to winning the fight by a unanimous decision. When Forrest, who had been the last man to beat Mosley (146) in the amateurs, used his height-and-reach advantages he neutralised much of the champion’s work by not allowing him to fire away at close quarters. With equally fast hands, Forrest’s added power also stopped Mosley in his tracks at times, and when the latter did get through, more often than not he was held in a vice-like grip. In the second session heads came together, leaving Mosley cut on his scalp and dazed before being dropped by heavy rights, which obviously affected his game plan from thereon in. Never at any time was Mosley able to work Forrest out, being in trouble again in the tenth after taking heavy belts to the body and smashed with solid right hands. In only three rounds did Mosley land more than a dozen punches, testament to the new champion’s control over him. Forrest also won the vacant Ring Championship Belt on the result.

28 July 2001. Andrew Lewis tdraw 2 Ricardo Mayorga.

Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Marty Denkin.

Fight Summary: Storming out from the opening bell, Mayorga (146¾) began to throw rights at the champion who withstood the attacks and countered with southpaw lefts. However, moments into the second round with both fighters coming together there was a clash of heads, Lewis (147) receiving bad cuts over both eyes as well as a swelling on the left optic. Too bad for him to continue, the referee called it off with seven seconds on the clock when ruling it to be a no-decision (technical draw for our purposes) under the Association of Boxing Commission Rules. It was later announced that the pair would have to meet again.

21 July 2001. Shane Mosley w rsc 3 Adrian Stone.

Venue: Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Nady.

Fight Summary: Starting fast, the challenger went forward with the jab trying to take Mosley (147) out of his stride during the opening two rounds. Although those sessions were given to Mosley his work was not of the standard expected, missing with far too many punches as Stone (147), pressing forward, went for the body. However, the third round saw Mosley beginning to move better, but despite hurting Stone to the body he bided his time, waiting for the opportunity to strike rather than punching away at his opponent who was moving from side to side and showing a high guard. Eventually measuring Stone with lefts Mosley banged in three rights to the top of the head, and when the target opened up he cracked in a fast left hook-right to the jaw that sent the Englishman crashing. Not bothering to pick up the count, the referee called the fight off on the 2.01 mark so that Stone, out cold, could be attended to as quickly as possible.

21 July 2001. Daniel Santos tdraw 1 Antonio Margarito.

Venue: Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum, Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jose Rivera.

Fight Summary: After just 131 seconds, and following two terrible head clashes that left the challenger badly cut, the fight was called off and announced as a no-decision under the Association of Boxing Commission Rules. For our purposes it should be seen as a technical draw. The first coming together of heads occurred when Margarito (146), working his way in to back the southpaw champion on the ropes, was cut over the right eye. Although the referee allowed it to go on, when Margarito dipped under a Santos (147) left cross moments later before inadvertently bringing his head up the second clash of heads occurred. At that point, with blood pouring from a deep wound, the fight was stopped by the referee following a discussion with the doctor.

 

Before a rematch could be made, Santos relinquished the WBO version of the title in November in order to step up and challenge for the vacant WBO junior middleweight title. That was eventually followed by an announcement that Margarito would fight Antonio Diaz to decide the vacant title.

12 May 2001. Vernon Forrest w pts 12 Raul Frank.

Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ken Zimmer.

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

Fight Summary: Again coming together to contest the vacant title, Forrest (145¼) beat Frank (147) to become the new champion when winning all rounds bar the fifth, in what was a messy affair. Tall for his weight and fast, Forrest failed to make full use of these advantages, being content to box on the back foot while happy to let Frank come to him. Even when in control Forrest failed to land effectively with right hands, preferring not to take any unnecessary risks against a wild swinging opponent who despite being dangerous at close quarters was limited at that level. Bearing in mind that their previous contest had seen one head clash too many, Forrest obviously had good reason not to get involved this time around.

 

When Forrest was stripped of the championship on 12 December after deciding to challenge Shane Mosley for the WBC crown the IBF set up a fight for the vacant title between Michele Piccirillo and Cory Spinks.

28 April 2001. Andrew Lewis w pts 12 Larry Marks.

Venue: Hammerstein Ballroom, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Smoger.

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

Fight Summary: Prior to the contest it was felt that Marks (144¼) should not have been sharing the same ring as the champion but, after a left hook to Lewis’ temple that had him floundering around two minutes into the fight, there was certainly a reassessment going on. Unfortunately, following that the next 11 rounds failed to live up to the initial excitement, and although Lewis (146½) virtually won all of them, occasionally having Marks in trouble, he was never able to finish the latter off. A proven tough guy, Marks stayed in the fight by clutching and being able to absorb whatever Lewis threw at him.

10 March 2001. Shane Mosley w rtd 5 Shannan Taylor.

Venue: Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Vic Drakulich.

Fight Summary: Giving a breath-taking display of boxing the champion had too much of everything for Taylor (147), who had courage a plenty but lacked the skill, power and speed required to deal with an opponent with such qualities. Towards the end of the first round, and having already been blinded by the speed of Mosley (147), the Australian was dumped by a flashing right hand to the head before being saved by the bell. Punching to the body to slow Taylor down, Mosley was merely biding his time. Although Taylor tried to rally, in the fourth he was deducted a point for roughhouse tactics before punches rained in on him again during the fifth, ending the session having to take a terrific blow to the body that almost doubled him up. It was no surprise when Taylor’s corner retired their man during the interval leading up to the sixth, stating that the protection of the fighter was paramount.

17 February 2001. Andrew Lewis w rsc 7 James Page.

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

Fight Summary: Formerly a champion prior to being stripped, Page (146) was given another chance to win back his old title when meeting Lewis (147), but ultimately found the latter too much for him. Called ‘Six Heads’ because his frenetic movement and southpaw stance made him difficult to hit, Lewis came out blasting in the opening session, as did Page, and in the second a cracking right uppercut to the jaw had the latter over heavily. Back on his feet, Page took a real hammering for the remainder of the second and third. Then, in the fifth he was actually pushed to the canvas as Lewis continually changed stance and came in from varying angles. It was fairly obvious that Page would not last much longer, taking far too many punches for his own good. And at 1.15 of the seventh, after Lewis had smashed him to the canvas, the referee wisely stopped the fight.

16 December 2000. Daniel Santos w co 2 Neil Sinclair.

Venue: The Arena, Sheffield, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: John Coyle.

Fight Summary: Working everything around his southpaw left hand, mixing up uppercuts and crosses, the champion soon got down to business to send Sinclair (146) down with a left cross. Up at ‘two’, but forced to take the mandatory ‘eight’ count, Sinclair allowed time for his head to clear before spotting an opening to send in a heavy right to the head that dropped Santos (147) for ‘seven’. Saved by the bell, Santos came out warily as Sinclair looked for a finish, and with both men landing heavily it was the latter who came off worse when a short left to the head sent him down to be counted out with 35 seconds of the session remaining.

4 November 2000. Shane Mosley w rsc 6 Antonio Diaz.

Venue: MSG Theatre, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Arthur Mercante.

Fight Summary: Stepping up from junior welter seemed to be too much of an ask for Diaz (146½), especially when facing someone of the champion’s calibre, and after being smashed to the canvas by a fast burst of combination punches in the second round it became blatantly obvious that he was out of his depth. For the next few sessions it was almost as if Mosley (146½) was allowing Diaz a stay of execution, but in the sixth he struck with a terrific right to the head to drop the latter. Up almost immediately, the tough Diaz took several more hard rights before another smash sent him crashing. With Diaz floundering but wishing to continue, the referee, a magnificent 80-years of age, made a perfect stoppage on the 1.36 mark.

26 August 2000. Vernon Forrest tdraw 3 Raul Frank.

Venue: Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Kenny Bayless.

Fight Summary: Contesting the title left vacant by Felix Trinidad, while expected to use his jab the taller Forrest (146½) was soon mixing it up with Frank (147) at close quarters. In the second it could be seen that Frank was already cut on the left eye, and as Forrest continued to land the left hook to head and body the signs for the underdog were ominous. Showing fast hands, Forrest still held sway in the third, but when he bent low to smash in another left hook there was a terrible clash of heads that left Frank badly cut and unable to continue. Due to the fight not making it to the end of the fourth round, the IBF rules stated that it would be classified as a no-decision (technical draw for our purposes) and that both men would have to meet again.

29 July 2000. Daniel Santos w rsc 4 Giovanni Parisi.

Venue: Oreste Granillo Stadium, Reggio Calabria, Italy. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Raul Caiz.

Fight Summary: Despite having a good opening round Parisi (145¾) was found wanting thereafter as he struggled against the southpaw champion, four inches the taller, quickly falling behind on the cards. Coming into the fourth and clearly up against it, Parisi took a beating from Santos (146½), and after being knocked over twice and lying defenceless on the ropes the referee called it off on the 2.32 mark to save him from taking further punishment.

17 June 2000. Shane Mosley w pts 12 Oscar De La Hoya.

Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lou Moret.

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

Fight Summary: Outspeeding the champion after stepping up two weight divisions, Mosley (147) came from behind over the last half to snatch victory by what turned out to be a close margin. Both men went for the body and both threw blurring punches to the head, but just when it looked likely that De La Hoya (146½) would get on top the former undefeated IBF lightweight title holder upped his work-rate. The longer it went on the more frantic it became, and by the tenth De La Hoya was feeling the pace whilst Mosley was getting in and out with sharp scoring punches. The final session saw both men tired, but it was Mosley, punching more cleanly and deliberately than De La Hoya, who was making more of a show at that stage. The punch stats had Mosley landing in total 284 to 257 blows for De La Hoya, having the best of the jabs with 110 to 92 and power punches with 174 to 165.

6 May 2000. Daniel Santos w co 5 Akhmed Kotiev.

Venue: Swiss Hotel, Neuss, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Bill Connors.

Fight Summary: Having already beaten his southpaw challenger six months earlier, although Kotiev (147) might have been expecting to repeat the dose things did not quite work out for him this time round. Making a good start, Santos (147) knew that to beat Kotiev he had to press him while using the jab to find his way in and crossing the left. As before Kotiev had difficulty with reaching Santos, and already down on two of the cards he was floored twice in the fifth from solid left hands, the second occasion seeing him counted out on the 2.07 mark.