The Weekend That Was
Once again we offer a run-down of much of this past weekend’s boxing action with help from our good friends at FightFan.com. First up, an absolute waste of time, Luis Ortiz vs Malik Scott, because let’s get this stinker out of the way as quickly as possible.
It was an ugly affair Saturday at the Casino de Monte Carlo which saw Luis Ortiz (26-0) chase down a retreating Malik Scott (38-3-1) for 12 uneventful rounds. It was a disappointing debut for Ortiz who was fighting for the first time under UK promoter Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sports. From the outset Ortiz stalked Scott, who was in full survival mode early and scarcely threw (never mind landed) a punch. The Cuban charge finally connected on the tricky American and dropped him in the fourth and again in the fifth. Ortiz became increasingly frustrated as he was unable to put Scott away, even with another late knockdown. The scores were a wipeout for Ortiz at 120-105, 120-106 and 119-106. The undefeated Cuban dubbed ‘King Kong’ is expected to return in early December on the Anthony Joshua vs Eric Molina undercard.
On the undercard, WBA bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell (29-2-1) retained his title by a disgraceful 12 round unanimous decision over Liborio Solis (25-5-1) on Saturday night. Solis took the action to McDonnell and appeared the obvious winner, but the judges somehow saw it 116-112, 115-113 and 117-111, all for the champion, a result that defies belief. Another ridiculous robbery and we can all rest assured that nothing will be done about it. Our condolences to Solis.
On the same card, former world title challenger Martin Murray (34-4-1) outpointed Nuhu Lawal (23-1) over 12 rounds in a battle for the vacant WBA Continental super middleweight title. And Jason Sosa (20-1-4) retained the WBA super featherweight belt with a unanimous decision over Stephen “Swifty” Smith (24-3) in Monaco in a gruelling battle that saw both men suffer the wounds of war.
Canadian cruiserweight champion Rob Nichols stopped Michael Walchuk via TKO Saturday night in his hometown of Cold Lake, Alberta. The victory now sets the stage for a grudge-rematch between Nichols and Quebec’s David Whittom who recently had some harsh words for his former Alberta foe. Their encounter in August of last year – a split decision win for Nichols – was one of the best Canadian fights of 2015.
Next, we turn to the Premier Boxing Champions event at Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia which saw some great action. In a fantastic fight on the undercard, former world champion Javier Fortuna (31-1-1) climbed off the canvas from a first round knockdown to rally and hand previously undefeated Omar Douglas (17-1) his first pro defeat by unanimous decision in ten rounds. The final stanza saw both men rocking each other and is a definite candidate for round of the year. Close and competitive fight with both men giving a very good account of themselves.
The co-main event appeared to be a size and strength mismatch as Canada’s JoJo Dan (35-4) fought gallantly but was out-gunned by the younger, bigger Jarrett Hurd (19-0). Dan showed guts to take the fight to Hurd but the difference in terms of physical advantages was too much and Hurd scored the TKO in round six when both Dan’s trainer Howard Grant and the referee stepped in simultaneously with the Canadian on his feet but taking heavy punishment.
The last fight of the night in Philly saw undefeated WBC world welterweight champion Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia (33-0) [Ed. note: though we all know he got a gift versus Mauricio Herrera in 2014] dominate Canadian-based Colombian Samuel Vargas (25-3-1) over seven one-sided rounds. Vargas showed heart and resolve to hang in as long as he did but he was largely out-gunned and out-classed from the opening bell.
Garcia used a deadly right hand in the early rounds and knocked Vargas for a loop in round two. The bell gave the challenger a minute to regroup and he lasted a few more rounds but the left hooks and right hands found their mark nearly every time for Garcia. The damage took its toll and in round seven the bout was halted by the referee with Vargas’s corner stepping in as well. In the aftermath, fellow welterweight Keith Thurman was at ringside and he and Garcia got into a face-to-face altercation to promote their superfight now set for March 4, 2017.
Elsewhere, former super middleweight champion Robert Stieglitz (50-5-1) moved up in weight to defeat European light heavyweight champion Mehdi Amar (33-5-2) by unanimous decision over 12 rounds on Saturday night in Magdeburg, Germany. Stieglitz looked impressive, controlling the action and scoring with sharp combinations. That’s a wrap!