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Garcia outpoints Guerrero, wins WBC welterweight title

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Danny Garcia needed several rounds to figure out how to handle Robert Guerrero. He still had plenty of time left to claim his first welterweight title in style.

Garcia won the vacant WBC 147-pound belt Saturday night with a resourceful performance in a unanimous-decision victory over Guerrero.

Garcia (32-0, 18 KOs) recovered from a slow start and largely controlled the later rounds to win a world title in just his second welterweight bout. The Philadelphia fighter took charge with a dominant right hand, out-boxing and punishing Guerrero (33-4-1) before surviving a frantic 12th round.

“I’m back where I belong,” Garcia said. “It was what I expected. I knew I would win at least eight or nine rounds.”

Garcia won 116-112 on all three judges’ scorecards to claim the WBC title left vacant by the retirement of Floyd Mayweather Jr., who watched from ringside in the Staples Center crowd of 12,052.

The main event was scored identically by judges Max DeLuca, Rey Denesco and Steve Weisfeld, who only varied in their opinion on two rounds. The Associated Press also scored it 116-112.

After cementing his claim for the next big star in the welterweight division, Garcia celebrated in the ring with his new green title belt – and a tiny replica for his 5-month-old daughter, Philly.

“I was throwing my combinations, using my legs like my dad told me to do,” Garcia said. “I knew he was going to come to fight. He’s a rugged warrior.”

Earlier, former U.S. Olympic heavyweight Dominic Breazeale survived a knockdown to remain unbeaten when Amir Mansour quit before the sixth with a mouth injury. Welterweight prospect Sammy Vasquez also stayed unbeaten when Aron Martinez quit with an injury before the seventh.

Garcia didn’t waste his quick opportunity for a 147-pound title shot after a championship-winning career at 140 pounds. He beat Amir Khan, Erik Morales, Lucas Matthysse and Lamont Peterson at junior welterweight before moving up to 147 pounds last August with a ninth-round stoppage of veteran Paulie Malignaggi.

Guerrero got off to an impressive start against Garcia, but became less mobile and less effective late in his third career loss in a welterweight title fight, following previous defeats against Mayweather and Keith Thurman. The former multi-division champion’s career has hit a crossroads with three losses in his last five fights, along with two debatable decision victories.

But Guerrero was more aggressive early on at Staples, following Garcia around the ring and landing big shots while Garcia backpedaled. Garcia also complained about head-butts, but he gradually gained control of the bout, exploiting Guerrero’s lack of head movement and defense.

The bout turned after Guerrero rocked Garcia with a straight left to the head in the fifth. Garcia recovered and answered with a series of punishing right hands in the sixth.

Garcia exerted control from there, but Guerrero occasionally replied before they finished with an all-action 12th round.

“Not one person out there thought Danny won, but his team,” Guerrero said. “I pressured him. I nailed him, busted his body up. I out-jabbed him. The crowd thought I won the fight. I thought I won the fight, and I definitely want a rematch.”

Garcia is heavily backed for stardom by Premier Boxing Champions, Al Haymon’s company putting fights back on network television. Garcia has backed up the hype for years with lively, athletic performances, but was tested more than many expected by Guerrero.

The pre-fight promotion featured the usual shenanigans of both fighters’ excitable fathers, Angel Garcia and Ruben Guerrero. The fathers, who both train their sons, even exchanged trash talk during the faceoff before the bout.

Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs), a former college football quarterback who boxed at the London Olympics, got rocked repeatedly by the 43-year-old Mansour (22-2-1) in the first three rounds. Breazeale, whose mother died on New Year’s Eve, crashed to the canvas in the third.

He recovered well and landed several big fifth-round punches on Mansour, who quit on his stool, believing he had broken his jaw. A subsequent trip to the hospital revealed his jaw wasn’t broken, but his tongue was badly injured, a PBC spokesman said.

“Shows I have punching power after all,” Breazeale said.

Boxer LaMotta, immortalized in ‘Raging Bull,’ dies at 95

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MIAMI (AP) Jake LaMotta, the former middleweight champion whose life was depicted in the film “Raging Bull,” has died at the age of 95.

His fiancee, Denise Baker, says LaMotta died Tuesday at a Miami-area hospital from complications of pneumonia.

The Bronx Bull, as he was known in his fighting days, compiled an 83-19-4 record with 30 knockouts.

LaMotta fought Sugar Ray Robinson six times, handing Robinson his first defeat. He lost the middleweight title to him in what became known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

In his previous fight, LaMotta saved the championship in movie-script fashion against Laurent Dauthuille. Trailing badly, LaMotta knocked out the challenger with 13 seconds left.

LaMotta threw a fight against Billy Fox, which he admitted in testimony before a U.S. Senate committee. He said he was promised a shot at a title.

On June 16, 1949, he became middleweight champion when Marcel Cerdan couldn’t continue after the 10th round.

The 1980 film “Raging Bull” was based on LaMotta’s memoir. Actor Robert DeNiro won an Academy Award for it.

Canelo and Golovkin fight to controversial draw

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Gennady Golovkin retained his middleweight titles Saturday night, fighting to a draw with Canelo Alvarez in a brutal battle that ended with both fighters with their hands aloft in victory.

The middleweight showdown lived up to its hype as the two fighters traded huge punches and went after each other for 12 rounds. Neither fighter was down and neither appeared seriously hurt but both landed some huge punches to the head that had the crowd screaming in excitement.

Golovkin was the aggressor throughout and landed punches that had put other fighters to the canvas. But he couldn’t put Alvarez down, and the Mexican star more than stood his own in exchanges with Triple G, from Kazakhstan. The two were still brawling as the final seconds ticked down and the fight went to the scorecards.

One judge had Alvarez winning 118-110, a second had it 115-113 in Golovkin’s favor while the third had it 114-114. The Associated Press scored it 114-114.

Golovkin, who has never lost in 38 fights, retained his middleweight titles with the draw. But Alvarez showed that he could not only take Golovkin’s punches but land telling punches of his own.

A frenzied crowd of 22,358 at the T-Mobile Arena roared throughout the fight as the two middleweights put on the kind of show that boxing purists had anticipated. They brawled, used sharp jabs and counter-punched at times, with neither one willing to give the other much ground.

“Congratulations all my friends from Mexico,” Golovkin said. “I want a true fight. I want a big drama show.”

There was plenty of drama late in the fight as Alvarez seemed to rally and rocked Golovkin with uppercuts and big right hands. But just as soon as he landed he often took one back from the slugger so feared that most other fighter avoided him.

“I won seven-eight rounds easily,” Alvarez said.

It was a battle from the opening bell as Golovkin tried to walk Alvarez down but often found himself getting hit from sharp counter punches.

“Today, people give me draw. I focus on boxing,” Golovkin said. “Look my belts, I’m still champion. I’ve not lost.”

Golovkin predicted before the fight that the late rounds would resemble a street fight, and in a way they did. Both fighters were willing to trade, and both had no problems landing hard shots to the head.

Golovkin had chased Alvarez for nearly two years, trying to get the signature fight that would pay him millions and make him a pay-per-view draw on his own. Alvarez finally agreed after Golovkin looked vulnerable earlier this year against Daniel Jacobs in a decision win that stopped his knockout streak at 23 fights.