BOXING

Golovkin Breaks Brave Brook; Jacobs and Chocolatito Win

Gonzalez Beats Cuadras, Wins World Title In Fourth Weight Class

Just because you are the best boxer in the world that does not mean that you will make every fight look easy. So as dominant as Roman Gonzalez has been, he faced a tough challenge in junior bantamweight titleholder Carlos Cuadras.

Roman-Gonzalez Photo Cred // boxingnewsonline.net

Cuadras showed mettle, using movement to try to buy himself breathing room, fighting fire with fire by throwing 889 punches (Gonzalez threw 983), digging to Gonzalez’s body to try to slow him down, and finding enough success to mark up and swell Gonzalez’s face.

Gonzalez was still great enough to win clearly against a very good foe, taking a unanimous decision. The judges had it 117-111 (nine rounds to three), 116-112 (eight rounds to four) and 115-113 (seven rounds to five).

That gave Gonzalez a world title in a fourth weight class. He held belts at 105 and 108, is the lineal champion — the man who beat the man, and so on — at 112, and has now added a title at 115 to his collection.

He is 46-0 with 38 KOs. He continues to overwhelm his opponents with activity, with well-placed and well-timed shots, and with enough speed and pop that even those who last the distance cannot just walk through what comes their way. Among active fighters, he lands the most punches per round and throws the second-most punches per round in fights tracked by CompuBox. He has the second-best connect rate, and he throws and lands with power more than anyone else in the sport.

He’s a joy to watch, and now those who were unfamiliar with him are able to see what hardcore boxing fans had long been raving about.

Gonzalez won a title at strawweight in 2008 and defended it three times, then moved up to junior flyweight, winning a belt and defending it five times, including a decision win over Juan Francisco Estrada in 2012. Estrada is quite good himself; he now holds two world titles at flyweight. Gonzalez soon followed to 112, eventually taking out Akira Yaegashi for the championship in 2014.

By 2015, HBO began to spotlight Gonzalez on the undercards of shows involving Gennady Golovkin. This was the fourth time “Chocolatito” was paired with “GGG.” This time, however, Golovkin fought Kell Brook earlier in the day in London, while Cuadras-Gonzalez headlined a card in California, airing live that night with the replay of Golovkin-Brook following it.

It’s a good way of exposing Gonzalez to a wider audience, which is necessary for building a fan base that will follow him even if they don’t know much, if anything, about his opponents.

HBO did show one possible opponent in the arena: Naoya Inoue, another of the best at 115. If Gonzalez opts to stay at junior bantamweight, then that would be a delight. So was Cuadras-Gonzalez. Cuadras deserves plenty of credit for that. He suffered his first pro defeat and is now 35-1-1 with 27 KOs, dropping a title he won in 2014. Cuadras deserves another chance. The winner of Inoue vs. Gonzalez should give him one.

Daniel Jacobs Wins Mora Rematch, In Line For Golovkin

The first fight between Daniel Jacobs and Sergio Mora had three knockdowns in two rounds and was fun while it lasted. Their second fight had five knockdowns in seven rounds and, despite that, was not.

That’s because of Mora, who spent more time moving awkwardly than he did throwing punches. Jacobs continued to pursue, finally (and thankfully) bringing things to a close with three knockdowns in the seventh round.

The two knockdowns that came earlier in the night actually shouldn’t have been ruled. Each was the result of Mora’s legs going out, once during a missed Jacobs shot in the fourth round, the other as Mora was moving away and was struck on the back in the fifth. Meanwhile, Jacobs was deprived of a knockdown that was wrongly ruled a slip in the sixth.

Ugliness aside, it was a clear win for Jacobs that he hopes will get him back on track and closer to big fights against the other top middleweights.

 jacobs-attack-largePhoto Cred // premierboxingchampions.com

Jacobs and Mora first met in August 2015. Jacobs scored a knockdown in the first round but didn’t have Mora as hurt as he thought. Instead, Jacobs ran into a counter shot and was put down himself. In the second round, Jacobs landed a shot while Mora stepped away at an odd angle. Mora’s ankle broke. He went down and got up but couldn’t continue.

Jacobs then went on to demolish Peter Quillin in one round last December. But he hadn’t fought since then, nine months of inactivity that stalled out whatever momentum he had coming from the Quillin win. The recovered Mora was an available opponent, someone to face and hopefully beat before moving on to bigger things. That’s what Jacobs did and hopes to do.

“I didn’t expect to knock him down as much, but I did see the fight ending in a knockout,” Jacobs said afterward. “It took a while because he’s so tricky. I wasn’t able to jab the way I wanted to. That’s what happens when you fight guys who have been in the game for a long time.”

Jacobs is now 32-1 with 29 KOs. He says he’ll be back in December at Barclays Center in his native Brooklyn. No opponent has been named. Jacobs, as the WBA’s “regular” titleholder, is the mandatory challenger to Gennady Golovkin, whose three major title belts include the WBA’s “super” title.

“I want to prove to the world that I’m the best middleweight,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs-vs-Mora-II_09_09_2016_Fight_Andy-Samuelson-_-Premier-Boxing-Champions5Photo Cred // Roundbyroundboxing.com

They have 30 days to negotiate and reach a deal before the WBA orders a purse bid, a method of trying to force a fight to happen when two sides can’t reach an agreement. Promoters bid for the right to put on the fight, and that dollar amount is then split between the fighters.

The WBA wants the fight to happen within 120 days. But if Jacobs or Golovkin decide to go in a different direction, or if the two sides agree that they want to have interim bouts before meeting in 2017, then there are other options available, including former titleholder Andy Lee.

Mora is now 28-5-2.

“I’m not going to take anything away from his victory, but I never recovered from a shot to the back of the head. They counted it as a knockdown so I’ll have to take a look at the video, but it felt like the back of the head,” Mora said afterward. “The fight was close in my heart. … I didn’t feel like I got beat up. He just caught me with good shots. I have a lot left in me. I’m going to look at the tape and see where I’m at.”

Golovkin’s Power Too Much, Brook’s Corner Throws in Towel

Kell Brook’s challenge of Gennady Golovkin was a bold one.

He was moving up from welterweight to challenge the best middleweight in the world. Golovkin’s power has been too much for other 160-pound fighters to handle. Brook was a very good 147-pound titleholder, but he was still someone who had been competing two weight classes below.

i efsdfgPhoto Cred // a1.com

Brook was bold, and he was brave as well. He not only stood across the ring from Golovkin, but stood and traded with him, too. Brook used footwork and upper body movement to make Golovkin miss, and he used his hand speed to catch Golovkin with counters and combinations. He absorbed painful blows to the body that visibly hurt him, and the punishing shots to the head that wound up injuring him.

Brook suffered a broken eye socket in the second round, though those watching wouldn’t have known from the way he continued to compete. Brook’s trainer knew, however, and watched as Brook motioned to his right eye while walking back to the corner after Round 4.

Despite Brook’s admirable efforts, Golovkin was still landing plenty of what he threw. And in the fifth round, Golovkin took over with a barrage, sending out more punches in those two minutes than he had for any of the preceding three-minute periods. Brook avoided what he could, remained standing despite the many that landed, but also was doing very little on offense.

Brook’s trainer, Dominic Ingle, understandably didn’t want his injured fighter to get hurt any worse. He didn’t think it was necessary to give Brook a chance to make it through the onslaught and try to win the fight. Or perhaps he believed it was no longer possible.

At that point, then, there was no need for Brook to go out on his shield. The right thing to do was what Ingle did — get up on the ring apron and throw in the towel.

Golovkin moved to 36-0 with 33 knockouts. He’s finished his last 23 fights by knockout or technical knockout; the last opponent to last the distance was in June 2008.

Brook was able to make Golovkin look more vulnerable than he has appeared in quite some time. Now it’s up to the top 160-pound fighters to see whether they’re able to do what Brook did, and also able to do what Brook didn’t.

Golovkin said afterward that he wants Billy Joe Saunders, the middleweight titleholder who turned down a fight earlier in 2016. Saunders owns the one major world title that Golovkin doesn’t have. But there’s also a potential fight with Daniel Jacobs looming; Jacobs is the mandatory challenger for one of three Golovkin’s belts.

That’s the near future. Golovkin still wants lineal champion Canelo Alvarez, who fights at 154 pounds against junior middleweight titleholder Liam Smith this coming Saturday. Alvarez-Golovkin wouldn’t happen any sooner than the second half of 2017.

Brook, who is now 36-1 with 25 KOs, will need plenty of time to heal. He looked in very good shape at 160 pounds after years of draining himself to 147, but it was still too much for him to be in against a puncher like Golovkin. Brook is planning to be at junior middleweight when he returns.

There are several talented fighters at 154. It will be interesting to see how Brook performs against them.

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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