BOXING

Figueroa Retires Guerrero, Berchelt Defeats Miura, Plus More

Omar Figueroa Returns, Drops Robert Guerrero Fives Times For TKO

Omar Figueroa hadn’t fought in 19 months. Robert Guerrero hadn’t fought for nearly a year. Each had taken time off for different reasons, and those reasons quickly became apparent. Figueroa dropped Guerrero three times in the second round and another two times in the third for the technical knockout victory.

Figueroa had needed time to heal lingering injuries and recharge his batteries. Guerrero was coming off a loss to a journeyman and wanted to give himself one more chance to see if he still had what it takes to compete at a respectable level.

He didn’t.

Guerrero had a good first round, landing on occasion as he boxed instead of falling into his usual brawling style. But Figueroa took over the second, taking advantage of Guerrero’s tendency to battle it out from close range — and taking advantage of the damage that Guerrero had accumulated from all those battles over the years.

Guerrero’s punch resistance was gone. He reacted as if he were in a Rocky movie as he got blasted with uppercuts and hooks. Figueroa turned to the uppercut in the second and turned the tide, popping Guerrero’s head up in the air and then plopping Guerrero down on the canvas. Guerrero tried to fight back, only to be sent down for a second time with more uppercuts. The third knockdown of the round came on a left hook.

The referee and Guerrero’s corner allowed the fight to continue. It didn’t last much longer.

Guerrero started the third round with a big left hand to back Figueroa up. Figueroa fought back while on the ropes with more uppercuts and hooks. Guerrero dropped again. He got up once more, but that was about all he could do. Figueroa soon finished him with a right hook upstairs and a left hook to the body.

The fight was over. Guerrero’s career should be as well.

He’s now 33-6-1 with 18 knockouts. He’s lost three in a row, four of his last five, and five of his past seven. But instead of dropping decisions to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, he’s now coming up short against the David Peraltas of the world and getting hurt by punches that he’d absorbed before in entertaining victories over Andre Berto and Yoshihiro Kamegai.

He once held world titles at 126 and 130 pounds. Those days were long ago. Guerrero spent the past five years scrapping it out at 147, facing bigger opponents, showing big heart, and getting good paychecks. Here’s hoping he’s got enough money left so that he can get out while he’s got enough of his faculties left.

Figueroa, meanwhile, is now 27-0-1 with 19 KOs. He says he wants to go down to 140. He’s just 27 years old, and now that he’s back it’ll be interesting to see how he fares against fighters who aren’t in the sunset of their careers.

 

Miguel Berchelt Makes Tough First Defense, Outpoints Takashi Miura

The scorecards were wide in Miguel Berchelt’s favor. That doesn’t mean his first world title defense was easy.

It’s never easy when you face Takashi Miura.

Berchelt won the unanimous decision, throwing and landing more than Miura did over the course of 12 rounds. But he had to withstand plenty of pressure and some good hard shots along the way.

Berchelt dropped Miura with a right hand and a left hook late in the first round. It was a flash knockdown. Miura wasn’t badly hurt, and he continued to press forward.

Berchelt had to pick his spots, knowing when to sit down on his shots and when to move away from Miura. That was wise, because even as Berchelt was building an insurmountable lead on the scorecards, Miura was still pursuing, hoping for the kind of fight-changing punches for which he’s known, sending hard left hands at Berchelt’s body and head. Miura landed some, but none was enough to change the momentum of the bout.

The scores were 120-109, 119-108, and 116-111.

“I knew this fight was going to be won with intelligence,” Berchelt said afterward. “Miura is a warrior and fought until the end. Miura has the toughest left hand in the division. He kept coming forward, and when he connected his punches, they did hurt.”

Berchelt is now 32-1 with 28 KOs. He won his world title in January, breaking down Francisco Vargas for the stoppage. Vargas had himself won the belt in 2015 in a fantastic back-and-forth affair against Miura. It would be amazing to see Berchelt in the ring with yet another warrior, Orlando Salido, but we’ll have to wait to see precisely what’s next.

Miura is now 31-4-2 with 24 KOs. He’d put forth a great late rally against Miguel Roman in January but couldn’t pull it off against Berchelt. The years and the punishment are likely accumulating on Miura, but he still will be a tough out for many 130-pounders, and his style and heart should allow him to be back on television soon.

 

As Expected, Marcus Browne Ends the Seanie Monaghan Charade

Seanie Monaghan was on the undercard of Figueroa vs. Guerrero for two reasons — to help sell tickets and to lose to Marcus Browne. Both of those things happened.

Monaghan had been carefully managed for years, building an undefeated record as a limited but entertaining light heavyweight, someone who could reliably draw fans to New York City and other nearby arenas because he was from a nearby city in Long Island.

Browne, however, was more than just another local fighter, hailing from the borough of Staten Island. He’s also a talented 2012 Olympian who has gone from taking a robbery victory against Radivoje Kalajdzic last year to looking like an absolute beast in his past two fights.

He plowed through Thomas Williams Jr. in six rounds this past February, needed less than a minute to drop Monaghan on Saturday night, and finished him in the second round. Browne had Monaghan hurt with a right hook, then pummeled away at Monaghan on the ropes until the referee jumped in.

Browne is now 20-0 with 15 KOs. He called out light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson afterward, though he’ll have to wait — Stevenson is expected to face contender Eleider Alvarez next.

Monaghan is now 28-1 with 17 KOs.

 

Jezreel Corrales Holds Onto Title, Edges Robinson Castellanos

Jezreel Corrales wants to be listed alongside the other top 130-pound fighters in the world. But before he steps in the ring with any of them, he may need to have a rematch with the man he defeated on Saturday.

Corrales topped Robinson Castellanos by technical decision when the fight was stopped in the 10th round, sent to the scorecards early due to a bad cut that opened up underneath Castellanos’ eye thanks to a clash of heads. The scorecards were in Corrales’ favor, but they were close and he had to get off the canvas twice in order to get the win.

Those knockdowns came in the fourth round. The first came off a right hand and a jab from Castellanos, who appeared to catch Corrales off-balance. The second knockdown was the result of a jab that was followed by a good looping right hand. Corrales took until the count of eight, recovering before rising.

Castellanos was outweighed by his heavier opponent and was contending with Corrales’ difficult style, but he was able to keep it competitive.

Corrales came back and was able to drop Castellanos in the seventh, thanks to a left hand that was actually blocked — Castellanos’ own glove hit his face, and he then hit the mat.

One judge had it even at 94-94. The others scored it 94-93 and 96-92, giving Corrales the majority decision victory.

Corrales burst on the scene last year, shocking hardcore fight fans by going to Japan and obliterating longtime junior lightweight titleholder Takashi Uchiyama with three knockdowns in the second round. Corrales then returned to Tokyo for a rematch with Uchiyama, taking a split decision. He’s now 22-1 with 8 KOs — his only loss came in his second pro fight.

Castellanos is now 24-13 with 14 KOs. He’s much better than his record indicates, even if he’s not anything special. Many of those defeats were early in his career. He’s learned on the jab. While he was stopped by Rene Alvarado in 2014 and Oscar Escandon in 2016, both of those bouts were down at featherweight — and he’s settled in nicely so far at and around 130. He shockingly stopped Yuriorkis Gamboa this past May and held his own against Corrales.

David Greisman
About the Author:

David Greisman.

David Greisman is an award-winning boxing writer based out of Washington, D.C., who has covered the sport since 2004. He is the senior staff writer and “Fighting Words” columnist for BoxingScene.com and a reporter for The Ring magazine. Greisman is the author of the book “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing.”
Follow on Twitter @fightingwords2

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