Mick Conlan Wins Unanimous Decision over Ruben Garcia Hernandez
Michael Conlan made sure to leave the Irish fans happy with a unanimous decision victory over Ruben Garcia Hernandez, winning every round of the bout, but couldn’t stop Hernandez, who had only been stopped once before as a professional.
Conlan took the win 100-90 on all three scorecards, and acknowledged that he wanted to work on his defense in the fight, but probably should have stepped up his activity to go for the stoppage. After the fight, Conlan called out Vladimir Nikitin, the man who “beat” him in the Olympics, leading to Conlan’s infamous “middle finger” moment. Nikitin fought on Conlan’s undercard, where he beat Juan Tapia to move to 3-0 as a professional. While the fight might not do much to further Conlan’s career, the storylines would make the fight fascinating -- and easy to sell to the public -- while giving Conlan an opportunity to prove he was always the better man.
There was a bit of controversy with Conlan’s entrance. Conlan entered to a song that had a few people upset on twitter, with the apparent singing of “up the ra” angering some of his fans. I don’t know enough about Irish politics to touch that issue with a ten-foot pole, but it was interesting considering how fun the night was supposed to be for the Irish fans and how angry many of them ended up on Twitter.
Paddy Barnes Loses, Ponders Retirement on St. Patrick’s Day Card
St. Patrick’s Day didn’t go as well for Paddy Barnes as it did for Conlan. Barnes, who fought for the WBC flyweight title in August, was supposed to bounce back and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with an easy victory over a journeyman opponent. Instead, he is spending the holiday taking a long hard look at whether, after only seven professional prizefights the bantamweight from Belfast should be boxing at all.
Barnes lost a split decision to 12-5 Texan Oscar Mojica, via scores of 56-58, 58-56 and 58-56. However, Barnes was dropped by a left hook to the liver in the second round which was not ruled a knockdown. Had that been scored correctly, the scores would have been far more indicative of how badly Barnes had been beaten.
After the fight, Barnes indicated that he would likely be retiring from professional boxing, a sad ending for the three-time Irish Olympian.
Luis Collazo Beats Samuel Vargas by Split Decision
Luis Collazo is 37 years old and hasn’t held a world title in over five years, but the welterweight from Brooklyn keeps on fighting, and won his third straight on Sunday afternoon.
Collazo beat Samuel Vargas by a split decision, with the three judges scoring the bout 94-96, 96-94, 98-92. While that was a great win, it’s Collazo’s potential next fight that is potentially crazy. Because he is with Top Rank and there are so few welterweights out there for him to fight, Collazo could be in line for a shot at Terence “Bud” Crawford. That would be a disaster for Collazo, and that “gritty veteran’s one last shot at greatness” storyline wouldn’t be enough to make anyone care, beyond watching another destructive effort from the WBO champion from Omaha.
Errol Spence Shuts out Mikey Garcia, Calls out Manny Pacquiao
The theory was that this was a no-lose fight for Mikey Garcia. If he won, he would vault his way up to the top of the pound-for-pound list and cement his status as an all-time great. If he lost, he would tip his cap to Errol Spence Jr., go back to lightweight and fight Vasyl Lomachenko to unify the titles on PPV. The no-lose scenario theory didn’t consider the possibly career-altering beating Garcia would end up taking.
En route to a shutout 120-108, 120-108, 120-107 decision victory punctuated by a 10-8 ninth round on one of the scorecards despite no knockdown being scored, Garcia was out-landed 345-75 over the course of the fight. By as early as the sixth round, people on Twitter were calling for the fight to be stopped, and by the time the fight entered the championship rounds guys like Ryan Garcia, Dan Rafael, Ryan Songalia, and George Foreman were actively calling for the fight to be stopped on social media.
The issue for Garcia is whether he will ever be the same after both the beating he took and the moving up in weight class i.e. what happened to Roy Jones Jr. after he fought John Ruiz.
As for Spence, this was such a dominant victory that most believe he would only be challenged by Terence Crawford. Unfortunately, due to boxing politics, that fight is unlikely to happen next (despite Spence’s declaration after the fight that Crawford “can get that too”). Instead, Spence will likely fight Manny Pacquiao, who he called out in the ring with Pacquaio seemingly accepting the challenge.
Could a 40-year-old Manny Pacquaio pull off the upset and beat Spence? Probably not. The consensus among boxing media is that fight would likely be more depressing than exciting, but it would undoubtedly make Spence a far bigger star than he currently is.
Tevin Farmer Beats a Game Jono Caroll by Far too Wide Decision
Tevin Farmer officially beat Jono Carroll via a unanimous 117-110, 117-110, 117-11 decision to retain the IBF Junior Lightweight title, but those scores are not indicative of how the fight went down. Carroll, an undefeated fighter but a heavy underdog, was game throughout the night, and although he most definitely deserved to lose, there’s no way he didn’t win more rounds than the judges awarded him.
Carroll came forward valiantly throughout the night, and impressed Farmer enough that the two went out for cheesesteaks together the day after the fight. As for what’s next for Farmer, he indicated that he would fight longtime social media sparring partner Gervonta Davis but noted that he wants similar money, which is never going to happen, saying "I feel like me and him, we built this fight up from 2014 to now. So, I think we should both get fair money, life-changing money. To answer your question, yes I do want Gervonta Davis ... if the business is right."
Katie Taylor Stops Rose Volante to Take Three of Four Lightweight Titles
Katie Taylor now owns the WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight titles after stopping Rose Volante in the ninth round on Friday night. Taylor dropped Volante in the first and dominated throughout. In the ninth round, Volante’s nose was broken by an accidental headbutt and the referee determined she had taken enough of a beating with a working nasal passage, and stopped the fight giving Taylor a ninth round TKO victory.
With the victory, the one belt Taylor does not own is the WBC lightweight title, currently held by Belgium’s Delfine Persoon. While there are more financially viable fights for Taylor to take, against bigger name opponents like Cecilia Braekhus, after the fight Taylor made it clear she wants to become the undisputed champion at lightweight above all else.
Benavidez TKOs Love in Two, Wants His Belt Back from Anthony Dirrell
At the weigh-ins of their fight, J'Leon Love decided to dance during the whole faceoff, eventually getting Roberto Duran (a former lightweight who once successfully won the welterweight title by beating Sugar Ray Leonard in case you forgot how great he was and how hard that is to do) to join in and begin dancing himself.
David Benavidez didn’t dance, but he did stop J’Leon Love in the second round of their fight. Benavidez had previously been suspended after testing positive for cocaine and was stripped of his 168-pound title. Thirteen months later in this, his first fight since the suspension the 22-year-old dazzled, hurting Love in the first round before stopping him in the second.
Sitting ringside for the fight was Anthony Dirrell, who wont he WBC belt that Benavidez was stripped of when he beat Avni Yildirim this February. After the fight, Benavidez said “I saw Anthony Dirrell with the WBC belt. He can't call himself champion until he fights me. That's my belt. I'm going to go get it. It's mine."
With all due respect to Dirrell, the belt will likely be his again soon enough.
Chris Arreola TKOs Jean Pierre Augustin in 3rd Round
Chris Arreola may never fight for the heavyweight championship of the world again, but he is still a very capable gatekeeper who can separate the contenders from the pretenders in the heavyweight division. Such was the lesson Jean Pierre Augustin learned this weekend, when Chris Arreola’s power gave him his first loss in eighteen professional prizefights.
Arreola first dropped Augustin with a jab, then dropped him once more forcing the referee to stop the fight. After the fight, Arreola claimed he was “title chasing not check chasing” which is either wishful thinking or an outright lie. Still this was a nice win for the veteran from California.
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