Morales Valiant In Defeat;
Guerrero’s Stock On The Rise
Report & Photos By Roy & Marlene Marquez
Fighting for the vacant
WBA interim super lightweight title, Marcos Maidana
bullied and bested Erik Morales but couldn’t bury the
Mexican legend as many expected. Maidana v. Morales
headlined a night of super fights contested at the MGM
Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. “I never said it
was an easy fight”, explained Maidana. “I was expecting
a war and that is exactly what happened.”
Morales (51-7) looked
calm enough when the opening bell rang but was quickly
forced to fight. Maidana (30-2) pushed Morales around
the ring and by the middle of the round Morales was a
one eyed fighter. In the opening round Maidana did what
he does best; apply pressure and let his hands go. Early
in the second Morales and Maidana boxed on even with
terms until Morales backed to the ropes where Maidana
pummeled him with both hands.
was able to back Maidana up as he came out of the corner
firing right hand leads. Through three, Maidana’s size
and strength were more than Morales could counter.
Morales had his moments in the fourth, just as he had in
every round prior, but gave too much ground to the
Argentine. Maidana started the fifth as though he
intended to end it; however, Morales had plans of his
own. Morales stung Maidana with a right cross that put
Maidana on his heels.
Morales pursued and
raked Maidana with rights to the head and lefts to the
body. Maidana never seemed in jeopardy of going down but
learned to respect the former three division champion.
Maidana regained control of the fight when he pushed
Morales around the ring in the sixth. Morales surged
late but it was a case of too little, too late. Between
rounds Morales sunk onto his stool. Both fighters were
fatigued by the seventh and at one point Maidana
staggered backwards across the ring.
Morales opened the
eighth with a devastating check hook that buckled
Maidana’s knees. Morales looked for the knockout but
couldn’t muster the strength to drop Maidana. It was
Morales’ best round since the fifth. Maidana jumped on
Morales to start the ninth and nearly overwhelmed him
when Morales stung Maidana with a right and Maidana gave
ground. The balance of the round was give and take with
momentum swinging to and fro. In the tenth it was
Morales’ turn to walk Maidana down.
Maidana was breathing
hard though the mouth and seemed content to fight only
when pressed. Maidana regrouped between rounds and
dominated the action in the eleventh. Maidana’s younger,
fresher legs prevailed in an action packed final round.
Morales fought like a champion but youth was served.
Maidana won by majority decision; 114-114, 116-112 &
Robert Guerrero boxed
and battled his way past Michael Katsidis to capture the
vacant WBA and WBO interim lightweight titles. In the
first, Katsidis mistakenly moved to his right and into
Guerrero’s left hand. Guerrero (29-1-1) took advantage
of the mental lapse and lathered Katsidis with left
hands and uppercuts. Katsidis (27-4) stood his ground in
the second and likely scored a knockdown during an
exchange at center ring. Guerrero’s glove touched the
mat but referee Russell Mora missed it. Guerrero
regrouped late and ended the round strong.
In the third Guerrero
worked behind the jab and fired a straight left behind
it. Katsidis had trouble getting inside the jab and
didn’t have an answer for the left hand. Katsidis
applied pressure in the fourth and landed several stiff
right hands. Katsidis also ate some lefts for his
troubles. Working behind the jab, Guerrero was in charge
of the fifth when he stung Katsidis with another
straight left. Katsidis wobbled but remained on his
feet. Guerrero pursued Katsidis and battered him over
the balance of the round. Guerrero boxed beautifully
again in the sixth in a round he dominated from bell to
bell. At the midpoint of the fight Katsidis was bloodied
and bruised but in the fight and he knew it. Katsidis
rushed out to meet Guerrero to start the seventh.
The pressure enabled him
to get to Guerrero in his best round since the fourth.
In the eighth Katsidis picked up where he left off in
the seventh. Unfortunately for Katsidis, referee Russell
Mora took a point for what appeared to be an accidental
low blow. When the action resumed Guerrero retaliated
but Mora was shielded and didn’t see it. The men started
winging borderline hooks at one another and when
Katsidis strayed a bit too low Russell deducted a second
point from Katsidis. Undeterred, Katsidis stuck with the
body attack and punished Guerrero along the ropes. Just
when Katsidis seemed in control of the action Guerrero
snapped off an uppercut that stopped the surge. Russell
evened things out a bit in the ninth when he took a
point from Guerrero for low blows.
Guerrero had been in
control of the round to that point. Guerrero controlled
the first two minutes of the tenth with his jab but
found himself in a brawl with Katsidis when the Aussie
picked up the pace over the final 60 seconds. Both men
answered the bell to the eleventh wearing the effects of
ten hard fought rounds. With both eyes swollen Katsidis
had a hard time seeing and ate several straight lefts in
a round Guerrero dictated. Guerrero looked possessed to
start the twelfth. Left hand after left hand found their
mark on Katsidis yet Katsidis wasn’t finished. Katsidis
willed himself back into the round and gave as good as
he got to close the show. The judges scored the fight
for Guerrero 117-108, 118-106 & 118-107. Following the
fight Guerrero stated, “I just really feel that you guys
haven’t seen the best of Robert Guerrero yet and the
best is yet to come.”
Nobuhiro Ishida scored
three knockdowns inside two minutes and stopped
previously undefeated James Kirkland to win by KO.
Ishida (23-6-2) landed a short right-left that caught
Kirkland and dropped him to his knees for the first
knock down of the fight.
When the fight resumed
Ishida pursued Kirkland to a corner and landed a
straight left to score the second knockdown of the
fight. The third and final knockdown came moments later
from an Ishida right hand. Referee Joe Cortez waived off
the contest at 1:52 of the first over Kirkland’s
Kirkland (27-1) refused
to give Ishida his due following the fight and earned
the ire of the crowd. Ishida is a former world champion
but wasn’t given much of a chance to defeat Kirkland. “I
wanted to put on a show for Japan”, said Ishida
following the fight.
flicked his jab often enough to defeat defensive minded
Jose Miguel Cotto in a ten round welterweight contest.
Cotto (32-2-2) knocked Malignaggi off-balance with a
right early in the first to set the tone. Malignaggi
(29-4) worked in and out behind the jab but got caught
by hooks while backing out. Over the second Malignaggi
circled left while flicking the jab but struggled to
find a rhythm in the round. Cotto’s heavier hands
inflicted more damage than Malignaggi’s jab over the
early rounds and were the difference through three
rounds of the fight.
Malignaggi had a better
round in the fourth by planting his feet and landing his
right hand with authority. After a fast start to the
fifth, Cotto lumbered after Malignaggi for most of the
round. His best punch was a head butt that resulted in a
small cut near Malignaggi’s left eye. Malignaggi
suffered a small cut near his right eye in the sixth and
blood trickled from both cuts. Malignaggi found some
openings in Cotto’s cross-armed defense to score
effectively in the round. Malignaggi’s jab was the best
punch of the middle rounds and gave him a lead through
seven. Cotto lunged after Malignaggi in the eighth,
missing more often than landing.
The fighters finally
gave the crowd something to cheer about late in the
ninth when Cotto settled against the ropes and
Malignaggi flurried to the head and body. Cotto raced
out to Malignaggi to start the tenth but was stopped in
his tracks by a solid 1-2. Cotto then returned to the
ropes where he bobbed and weaved while Malignaggi sat
and watched. The crowd got on both men for failing to
engage in the round. But, the crowd saved their best for
Malignaggi when he celebrated a 99-91, 97-93, 99-91
unanimous decision victory.
Off-Air Undercard Results
Danny Garcia, of Philadelphia, PA, soundly defeated
former world champion Nate Campbell over 10 super
lightweight rounds. The official scores were 99-91,
98-92 & 100-90. Garcia’s unblemished record improves to
21-0 with 15 KOs while Campbell (33-8-1, 25 KOs) settles
into the role of gatekeeper.
Rising cruiserweight Rakhim Chakhkiev (9-0) stopped
Harvey Jolly (12-16-1) at 2:18 of the 3rd round to win
his ninth fight in nine starts. Chakhkiev represented
Russia in the 2008 Olympic Games.
Mikael Zewski (9-0) battled his way to a split decision
victory over Clint Coronel (4-2-2) in a six round junior
middleweight fight. The scorecards read 60-54 and 59-55
for Zewski and 60-54 for Coronel. Ringside pundits
agreed with the first two scorecards.