Austin Trout Begins Comeback

Trout (right) & Dawson (left) hearing the referee's instructions before the bout

Trout (right) & Dawson (left) hearing the referee’s instructions before the bout

In his first fight since December former titleholder Austin Trout began his comeback with a tougher-than-expected decision victory over Daniel Dawson.

Trout (27-2, 14KO) started the fight well by displaying his superior speed and technique to counter Dawson and land nice left hands to the midsection of the Aussie. Dawson (40-4-1, 26KO) looked game but he appeared to be the safe comeback opponent Trout and his team wanted. He looked to bounce back to contender status after back-to-back decision losses to Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara.

Just when things looked good for Trout disaster nearly struck in round 3 when he overextended himself trying to land a combination. This gave Dawson the opportunity to counter Trout with a right hand which dropped him. Trout rose and fought back but a brief moment where he left his left hand by his side allowed Dawson to hit him with another right hand, dropping Trout again.

Sensing a career-threatening loss in the works, Trout bounced back and began to settle into a groove by the middle rounds. He showed flashes of his talent by landing solid right hooks and left hands in combination and sliding or slipping to avoid Dawson’s shots.

Trout’s talent made an extra mark in round 8 when a three-punch combination dropped Dawson for the first time in his career. Dawson managed to survive the round but the difference in class began to show. The last two rounds were dominated by Trout and at certain points Dawson looked ready to be taken out. To his credit, Dawson survived to hear the final bell.

All three judges scored the bout 97-90 in favor of Trout.

Although Trout expressed desire to fight Alvarez and Lara again he also admitted to being rusty and said he would try to fight another second-tier opponent to correct any mistakes he made last Saturday against Dawson.

That would be wise considering the mistakes he made in round 3 particularly and the talented division he’s in right now. Trout can’t afford to be rusty against the likes of Alvarez, Lara, and Carlos Molina.

Brook Upsets Porter; Figueroa KOs Estrada

Two welterweights put their undefeated records on the line last Saturday and the result has shaken the boxing world.

Brook (left) attacking Porter

Brook (left) attacking Porter

When Shawn Porter knocked out Paulie Malignaggi in April it put him in the elite class according to many boxing experts. Meanwhile British welterweight Kell Brook struggled with accusations that he pulled out of a fight with then IBF titlist Devon Alexander because he was scared and criticism of his opponents. Before Saturday, Brook’s most notable victories came against Vyacheslav Senchenko and Carson Jones.

Both fighters started the bout the way most experts expected to go with Porter (24-1-1, 15KO) swarming and being aggressive while Brook (33-0, 22KO) looked to counter from the outside and clinch whenever Porter got close.

By round 3 there were signs Porter’s offense wasn’t doing as much damage as he had hoped. His punches either grazed Brook or landed without much force. He smothered his own attack when he leaped in on Brook because he would be off balance and this gave Brook opportunities to land counter shots or hold the champion.

The challenger began to dominate the fight by the end of round 8. Brook consistently landed his jab and straight right and an accidental butt opened a cut on Porter, who looked frustrated and distraught by the end of the round.

Porter had no answer to Brook’s combinations and inside smothering. He continued to leap in and his leaky defense showed throughout the bout due to his sloppy attack and lack of head movement. He had some success in rounds 11 and 12 but it was too little too late and Brook continued to pick him apart with right hands and left hooks.

The fight didn’t turn out to be the slugfest advertised, but Brook got the job done with scores of 117-111, 116-112, and 114-114 and pulled off the upset with a majority decision victory and won the IBF welterweight title.

Brook didn’t put on a dazzling performance but nevertheless he showed he could take on a strong welterweight and calmly use his jab and boxing ability to outclass an aggressive opponent. However, part of the reason Brooks didn’t look spectacular was because Porter boxed so poorly. He almost always came at Brook in a straight line and landed ineffective shots throughout the bout. He didn’t commit to his punches and literally leaped in to attack like some sort of frog. Fighters at the elite level don’t make those kinds of mistakes.

Porter will need to make adjustments to his game if he wants to continue to fight at the highest level. It is still questionable whether Brook is an elite fighter, but it’s clear he is a good one. Future opponents would be wise to not underestimate him like the majority of experts did for this bout.

 

In the most action-packed fight of Showtime’s broadcast, WBC lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa (24-0-1, 18KO) retained his belt with a 9th round TKO over Daniel Estrada (32-3-1, 24KO).

The fight was even through 8 rounds as Estrada had success on the outside while Figueroa did his best work on the inside and whenever he could entice Estrada to a brawl.

A clash of heads in round 8 opened a deep gash on Figueroa that made the doctor and Figueroa’s own corner consider stopping the fight for.

Not wanting the fight to end on a cut, Figueroa took matters into his fists by measuring Estrada with a jab and connecting with a solid right hand that floored him for the second time of his career. Estrada beat the count but a swarming attack from Figueroa forced Estrada on the ropes and the referee halted the bout seconds after.

Figueroa said he would like to move up in weight because it has been hard on his body to make the 135 pound lightweight limit in recent bouts. If this happens, talks of a potential bout with Jorge Linares would be killed for now.

Whether at 135 or 140 Figueroa has proven to be an entertaining fighter and the Linares would be interesting at either weight. Linares’ athleticism and speed could spell trouble for Figueroa but then again so could Figueroa’s power and relentlessness.

Maybe one day.

Garcia, Peterson, and Jacobs Stay Busy

The three favored fighters took care of business on Saturday to nobody’s surprise.

Daniel Jacobs

Daniel Jacobs

The first bout between cancer-survivor Daniel Jacobs and Australian contender Jarrod Fletcher proved to be the most satisfying because of Jacobs’ journey from staring at his own mortality to winning the vacant WBA title. It should be noted Gennady Golovkin is the WBA’s “super champion” and the belt Jacobs won is the “regular” title…whatever that means.

Jacobs tried to end the fight early after dropping Fletcher in the opening round with a compact left hook. Fletcher (18-2, 10K) managed to survive the round and a perhaps arm-weary Jacobs (28-1, 25KO) simply followed Fletcher in round 2 as the Australian tried to regain his composure and confidence.

The fight continued to progress against Fletcher as Jacobs regained control by the third round. The Brooklyn native stepped up the pace in round 5 and nailed Fletcher with a series of blows, forcing him to fall back to the ropes. The referee waved the fight off after that knockdown.

Jacobs’ inspiring performance earned him his nickname “The Miracle Man” even though he was the favorite going into the fight because of his battle with cancer and the resilience he’s shown in and outside the ring.

In the co-feature of the evening, IBF junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson defended his belt against Edgar Santana (29-5, 20KO).

The fight was one-sided from the opening bell as Peterson (33-2-1, 17KO) pummeled Santana with power shots to the head and body which weakened Santana as the fight wore on. Santana showed he could take a good shot but seemed out of the fight as he couldn’t deal with the mixed offensive and defensive skills of Peterson. The referee saw enough towards the end of the 10th round and waved the fight off.

In the biggest mismatch of the night junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia blew out unranked Rod Salka (19-4, 3KO) in two rounds to bounce back from a controversial win over Mauricio Herrera.

Danny Garcia (left) taking out Rod Salka (right)

Danny Garcia (left) taking out Rod Salka (right)

Garcia (29-0, 17KO) looked like the bigger man when they met in the ring and it became more apparent as his shots landed with a thud every time it seemed. Salka was game but simply overmatched in every conceivable category.

Garcia first knocked down Salka with a right hand in round 2. One knockdown from a series of blows later a crushing left hook on Salka’s chin put him on his back and the referee saw that no count was necessary and waved the fight off.

Garcia didn’t accomplish much in beating Salka other than staying busy and rebuilding some confidence he may have lost in his last fight when Herrera gave him a much tougher than expected outing that some experts believe he actually lost. Garcia mentioned the possibility of facing Peterson but considering the fight was contracted one pound over the junior welterweight limit it can be assumed Garcia is having difficulties making weight now.
A fight with Garcia and Peterson is still a possibility regardless of the weight but if the fight were to take place at junior welterweight it would be the biggest fight the division’s seen since Garcia’s unanimous decision victory last September over Lucas Matthyssee.

Hopkins-Kovalev Announced, Rios Scores Disappointing DQ Victory

Kovalev battering Caparello. Photo by ESPN

Kovalev battering Caparello. Photo by ESPN

The best news in boxing last Saturday turned out not to be any fight that occurred. Instead, the announcement of a Nov. 8 bout with Bernard Hopkins and Sergey Kovalev gave fans something to look forward to after the ugly and unsatisfying end to Brandon Rios vs. Diego Chaves bout.

The entire bout was filled with fouls from the early rounds and Chaves (23-2-1, 19KO) lost a point for excessive holding. The referee, Vic Drakulich, evened the point loss by taking a point away from Rios (32-2-1, 23KO) for tackling Chaves to the canvas. Frustrated from losing control of the fight, Drakulich threatened to disqualify both fighters if the fouls continued.

Chaves lost another point in round 8 for pushing his gloves into Rios’ face. The peak of the fouls happened by round 9 when both fighters ended up on the canvas following a takedown. The fight ended moments later when during a clinch, Rios complained of being thumbed and Drakulich disqualified Chaves. Looking at the replay, it does appear Chaves put his glove in Rios’ face but plenty of fouls occurred beforehand and although both men acted unprofessionally, Drakulich could have taken better control of the fight. It’s his job after all.

Brandon Rios (L) points the finger at Diego Chaves as referee Vic Drakulich steps in to give a warning. Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank.

Brandon Rios (L) points the finger at Diego Chaves as referee Vic Drakulich steps in to give a warning. Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank.

Both sides complained about Drakulich’s referring saying he was unclear about the specific reasons he took away points from them. Although there is truth to that statement, I also blame Rios and Chaves for turning a boxing match into a hockey brawl and acting unprofessionally in general.

Chaves lead on two scorecards by the end of round 8, 75-74 and Rios lead the third scorecard, 75-74.

Oh yeah, and Kovalev (25-0-1, 23KO) knocked out some guy named Blake Caparello (19-1-1, 6KO) in the second round. But wasn’t that obvious?