WEEKEND REVIEW - QUIGG MARTINEZ, FRAMPTON GONZALEX, CHAVEZ JR & MORE
By TOM WATT on July 20 2015
A busy weekend of action around the Boxing World saw headlines made either side of the Atlantic in the Super-Bantumweight division as well as the return of Chavez JR, Ant Crolla’s comeback from a career threatening injury and more. For a quick recap of the weekends action, read on.
Quigg blows through Kiko Martinez
After the possibility of the Carl Frampton fight had slipped away, Scott Quigg’s promoter, Eddie Hearn was quick to get his man a top level opponent and delivered in the form of Kiko Martinez – the former IBF World Champion had lost twice to Frampton in the last few years (firstly via 9th round TKO in February 2009 and then again by unanimous decision in September last year) and was seen as a good barometer of comparison between the two British fighters. Many before the fight had tipped this as a very tough fight for the Bury-born undefeated Champion but Quigg made light work of his opponent, dropping him twice in the second round before referee Terry O’Connor stepped in and stopped the fight.
It was a statement from Quigg that he belongs at the top of the division and having made light work of the former World Champion, he can now set his sights on landing the fight he is so desperate to win against Frampton. Whether or not the two promoter’s can make an agreement is yet to be seen with Frampton’s promoter Barry McGuigan seemingly unwilling to negotiate directly with Eddie Hearn and instead focus on carving out a career for Frampton on the other side of the pond in America. Quigg is now unbeaten in 33 fights and if the opportunity to fight Frampton does not come up then there will be no shortage of options for the WBA World Champion although with Santa Cruz and Mares set to face off and rumors that Vasyl Lomachenko is going to fight Guillermo Rigondeaux, he may not have the division hottest ticket for a while although domestic fights with Kid Galahad and Gavin McDonnell could make for interesting viewing.
Frampton recovers from terrible first round to win US Debut
On the other side of the Atlantic, Quigg’s compatriot Carl Frampton was making his own World Title Defense and his US Debut (via Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions) in Texas against tough Mexican Alejandro Gonzalez (25-2-, 15 KOs) in a fight that didn’t go quite as planned for ‘The Jackal’ after a disastrous first round saw Gonzalez score two knockdowns. Frampton recovered well, shook himself and re-composed as he went on to dominate every subsequent round (bar maybe the 9th), controlling the distance and landing some exquisite combinations.
It wasn’t the dream US debut Team Frampton and Cyclone Promotions (headed by Barry McGuigan) were hoping for but it was an entertaining fight and with the bout televised on free-to-air TV in America and the UK, it was a big night for the Belfast man who can now look forward to bigger fights on both sides of the pond. Here’s what the man himself had to say following his latest win.
"I didn't feel great in the first round. I got up from two flash knockdowns, though, and recovered well. The kid could punch very well. I got up and showed courage. I came back and won most of the rounds and gave excitement."
Everyone will now want to see him fight fellow Brit (and WBA regular Champion), Scott Quigg in a domestic unification showdown - that fight seems likely to happen at some point although it may not be next in-line for either man as the promoter’s jockey for the stronger negotiating position. With Rigondeaux looking likely to move to 126 lbs to fight Lomachenko, the other belts in the division may open up and that could lead to some very entertaining match-ups.
Arreola struggles to draw in ‘tune-up’ fight
With Deontay Wilder looking set to fight on September 26th, many saw Chris Arreola’s fight with Fred Krassi (18-3, 10 KOs) on the Frampton Gonzalez undercard as nothing more than a tune-up fight for his third bite at the WBC World Title cherry (following previous defeats to Vitali Klitshko and Bermaine Stiverne) but a sluggish performance saw Arreola struggle to draw with Krassi, who was coming off a 7th round stoppage defeat to Amir Mansoor. Arreola seemed determined to go for the knockout from the second round, abandoning his jab and focusing on heavy, predominantly over-hand shots to the head that allowed Krassi to move and use angles, making for a difficult evening for ‘The Nightmare’.
One judge scored the fight 96-94 (for Arreola) with the remaining two scoring the fight a draw at 95-95. After the fight Arreola admitted that he ‘probably did not do enough’ to secure the fight with Wilder and there wont be many fans clamoring to see that fight should it still go ahead in September, the questions now are; where does Arreola go from here? And who will Wilder pick next? – Arreola is ranked #11 with the WBC and not in the top 15 for any other organisation so it seems that Wilder is content to pick someone further down the pecking order once again, although pressure to make a fight with Alexander Povetkin may now turn up a notch with the Russian many people’s favourite to dethrone the American Knockout artist.
Anthony Crolla is robbed of decision, WBA immediately investigate
For those who don’t know, Anthony Crolla’s story over the last 12 months is nothing short of a Hollywood movie plot, after finally realising his dream of fighting for a World Title against Richard Abril for the WBA Title (scheduled for the 23rd of January), Crolla was injured chasing burglars from a neighbour’s home in Manchester. After apprehending one of them Crolla was hit with a concrete slab and suffered a broken ankle and severe head injuries that included a fractured skull. Doubts over the future of his career hung in the balance but Crolla was determined to get back in the ring and fight for the World Title he had dreamed of, six and a half months later he was realising that dream as he stepped in to fight the highly rated Darleys Perez on Saturday night in Manchester.
Perez was a highly rated Amateur and came into the fight with a professional record of 32-1-0 (his only loss coming to Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa), many thought it would be step too far for Crolla after his time out with injuries etc. but as the fight began, everyone could see Crolla belongs at World level as he more than handled Perez as he went on the offensive from the get-go and seemingly dominated with the majority of fans at ringside and on Social Media giving him the fight by three or four round margin, the fairy-tale ending was not to be though and the judges incredibly scored the bout a draw, allowing Perez to keep his Title for now. However the controversy surrounding the decision has forced the WBA to order an official scoring review of the fight which may end in the pair fighting once again, something Crolla and his promoter, Eddie Hearn, are very keen to progress with.
“I'd love to have a rematch and hopefully that can be sorted. I’d like to take him back to Manchester and get that arena rocking again."
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr wins in first fight under Robert Garcia
After his devastating defeat to Fonfara earlier this year, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr looked to re-ignite his career by linking up with legendary trainer, Robert Garcia and moving back down to Super-Middleweight (although this fight was agreed at 170 lbs), many expected to see a new and revitalised Chavez Jr but were treated to much of the same form the Mexican star who missed weight by 3 lbs and fought to a comfortable points win after bullying his opponent, Marcos Reyes (33-3-0) who has spent the majority of his career as a junior-middleweight and middleweight contender.
Despite the unanimous decision, the 9,000+ crowd refused to get behind Chavez Jr who had angered many by once again failng to make weight, something we have seen all-too-often from him and something that shows that despite all his words to the contrary, he is still not 100% focused on the sport. It was another win for his resume and will give Garcia a foundation to build on as he looks to continue to mold Chavez back into World Title contention but the fan’s patience is running out and Chavez will need to put in an impressive performance next time out or risk losing what’s left of his credibility all together.
Amir Imam scores 4th round KO
On the undercard of Chavez’s bout, fast-rising prospect and Ring Magazine’s #10 rated Junior-Welterweight, Amir Imam (18-0-0, 15 KOs) was in action against Fernando Angulo (29-10) and looked very impressive on the way to scoring a 4th round Knockout. Imam utilised his reach advantage by sitting behind his jab and picking his shots well, looking comfortable against the much more experienced opponent before picking his spot in the fourth round and stopping Angulo with a devastating jab-straight combination that left him face-down on the canvas.
This fight was billed as WBC eliminator and afterwards Imam vowed he would look to challenge for and subsequently defend the WBC strap with pride:
“These guys are fake these days,” he said. “These guys get the belt but don’t respect the belts. They throw it away. I’m gonna keep the belt and hold it with pride. I got the winner of Matthysse Postol.”
Lucas Matthyse and Viktor Postol are set to fight for the vacant WBC Title on October 3rd in California and Imam, who is managed by the infamous Don King, will be looking to land a fight with the winner as soon as possible.
1. FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
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