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Golovkin stops Wade in 2nd round for 22nd straight KO win

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) Gennady Golovkin defended his middleweight titles in devastating fashion again Saturday night, stopping Dominic Wade in the second round for his 22nd straight knockout victory.

Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs) knocked down Wade three times in the short fight, brutalizing the previously undefeated challenger before ending the bout on a right to the chin with 23 seconds left in the second.

A sold-out Forum roared for its adopted champion in his 16th consecutive title defense.

“This is a big present for my fans,” Golovkin said. “I’m here now and I’m here to stay. I’m not going anywhere.”

Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez also defended his WBC 112-pound title with a unanimous decision over McWilliams Arroyo.

Golovkin and Gonzalez combined to pack the famous arena south of downtown Los Angeles for the second time in a year, attracting 16,353 savvy boxing fans who understand the sublime brutality of the Kazakh 160-pound champion and the Nicaraguan flyweight.

Wearing blue-and-gold trunks to celebrate the Los Angeles Rams’ NFL return to a future stadium across the street from the Forum, Golovkin opened his bout in his new hometown with the crowd repeatedly chanting “Triple G!”

And Golovkin was relentless from the bell, knocking down Wade (18-1) with a punch to the ear in the final seconds of the opening round. After absorbing a few punches from Wade with negligible impact, Golovkin landed a dynamite combination in the second round, flooring Wade with a left uppercut and a right to the body.

Golovkin finished his woozy opponent with a right hand that left Wade face-down on his knees. Golovkin, who idolizes the same Mexican boxers beloved in Los Angeles, got another enormous cheer when he greeted the fans with “Muchas gracias!”

Golovkin was an enormous favorite to beat Wade, his mandatory challenger for one of his belts. Although Golovkin has dominated the middleweight division, he still covets a superfight with Canelo Alvarez, who holds the WBC version of the 160-pound belt after beating Miguel Cotto at a 155-pound catch weight last year.

Alvarez has said he is willing to fight Golovkin, but Alvarez’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, appears less interested. When asked if he had a message for Alvarez, Golovkin said: “Give me my belt!”

Gonzalez (45-0) is widely considered the world’s top pound-for-pound fighter since the retirement of Floyd Mayweather, and the 112-pound dynamo put on another virtuoso display in his fourth straight title defense.

Yet the Nicaraguan champion’s streak of 10 consecutive stoppages victories was ended by Arroyo (16-3), whose gritty effort on a damaged shoe earned him respect from a crowd supporting Gonzalez.

Nobody had gone the distance with Gonzalez since Juan Francisco Estrada in November 2012. Two judges scored the bout 119-109 for Gonzalez, and a third gave every round to the champion, 120-108. The Associated Press scored it 119-109 for Gonzalez.

“This shows that I can win either by knockout or by going the distance,” Gonzalez said through a translator. “It was a very difficult fight, but McWilliams moves very well, and he knows how to avoid the punches.”

‘It’s about time’: Trump pardons late boxer Jack Johnson

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WASHINGTON (AP) President Donald Trump on Thursday granted a rare posthumous pardon to boxing’s first black heavyweight champion, clearing Jack Johnson’s name more than 100 years after what many see as his racially-charged conviction.

“It’s my honor to do it. It’s about time,” Trump said during an Oval Office ceremony, where he was joined by boxer Lennox Lewis and actor Sylvester Stallone, who has drawn awareness to Johnson’s cause.

Trump said Johnson had served 10 months in prison for what many view as a racially-motivated injustice and described his decision as an effort “to correct a wrong in our history.”

“He represented something that was both very beautiful and very terrible at the same time,” Trump said.

Johnson was convicted in 1913 by an all-white jury for violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for “immoral” purposes, for traveling with his white girlfriend.

Trump had said previously that Stallone had brought Johnson’s story to his attention in a phone call.

“His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial,” Trump tweeted in April. “Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!”

Johnson is a legendary figure in boxing and crossed over into popular culture decades ago with biographies, dramas and documentaries following the civil rights era.

He died in 1946. His great-great niece has pressed Trump for a posthumous pardon, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have been pushing Johnson’s case for years.

The son of former slaves, Johnson defeated Tommy Burns for the heavyweight title in 1908 at a time when blacks and whites rarely entered the same ring. He then mowed down a series of “great white hopes,” culminating in 1910 with the undefeated former champion, James J. Jeffries.

McCain previously told The Associated Press that Johnson “was a boxing legend and pioneer whose career and reputation were ruined by a racially charged conviction more than a century ago.”

“Johnson’s imprisonment forced him into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice, and continues to stand as a stain on our national honor,” McCain has said.

Posthumous pardons are rare, but not unprecedented. President Bill Clinton pardoned Henry O. Flipper, the first African-American officer to lead the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War, and Bush pardoned Charles Winters, an American volunteer in the Arab-Israeli War convicted of violating the U.S. Neutrality Acts in 1949.

Linda E. Haywood, the great-great niece, wanted Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, to pardon Johnson, but Justice Department policy says “processing posthumous pardon petitions is grounded in the belief that the time of the officials involved in the clemency process is better spent on the pardon and commutation requests of living persons.”

The Justice Department makes decisions on potential pardons through an application process and typically makes recommendations to the president. The general DOJ policy is to not accept applications for posthumous pardons for federal convictions, according to the department’s website. But Trump has shown a willingness to work around the DOJ process in the past.

Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

Lomachenko stops Linares in 10th, wins lightweight title

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NEW YORK (AP) Vasiliy Lomachenko stopped Jorge Linares in the 10th round of their lightweight championship fight Saturday night, winning a title in his third weight class in just his 12th pro bout.

Lomachenko landed a hard left to the body during a flurry of precision punches that sent Linares went to a knee. Linares finally got up just as the count was reaching 10 but referee Ricky Gonzalez called an end to the fight at 2:08 of the round.

Linares knocked down Lomachenko in the sixth and the fight was all even after nine rounds before Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) put an overpowering end to his first fight at 135 pounds, adding that title to his belts at 126 and 130 pounds.

Linares (44-4, 27 KOs) hadn’t lost since 2012 and used his size advantage to do some damage, but in the end Lomachenko did more in an exciting Madison Square Garden match.

The fighter widely known as Vasyl said this week he prefers to use Vasiliy, his legal name. And now he can be called lightweight champion after picking up the WBA’s version of the belt in front of a crowd of 10,429 that chanted “Loma! Loma!” and waved blue and gold flags for much of the night.

It was Lomachenko’s eighth straight victory by stoppage, but this one was much tougher than a recent stretch of clinics in which his last four fights ended when his opponents’ corners wouldn’t let them take more punishment from the Ukrainian.

Lomachenko had joked he should be called “no mas Chenko” for his habit of making opponents quit, but Linares made him earn this victory.

The Venezuelan was on a 13-fight winning streak and was giving the two-time Olympic gold medalist the test he wanted, one that he said would bring out the best in what many already consider the most skilled fighter in the world.

Each fighter was ahead 86-84 on a judge’s card, while Julie Lederman had it 85-all after nine rounds.

Lomachenko said Thursday he needed to finally be put in danger to show his complete array of skills, and then on display in the 10th round with a series of shots that Linares couldn’t defend, especially the left to his midsection that took the biggest toll.

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