A roundup of the past week’s notable boxing results from around the world:
Sunday at Kumamoto, Japan
Ryuya Yamanaka (15-2, 4 KOs) W12 Tatsuya Fukuhara (19-5-6, 7 KOs)
Scores: 116-112, 115-113 (twice)
Rafael’s remarks: Fukuhara, a 28-year-old southpaw from Japan, won the interim 105-pound belt by split decision against Moises Calleros in February and was later elevated to full titleholder when Katsunari Takayama retired. Making his first defense in his hometown, Fukuhara had difficulties with countryman Yamanaka, 22. Using a speed advantage and crisp combinations throughout the fight, Yamanaka consistently beat Fukuhara to the punch to win a competitive fight. It was his eighth victory in a row since an eight-round split decision loss back in 2014.
Saturday at Las Vegas
Floyd Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) TKO10 Conor McGregor (0-1)
Rafael’s remarks: Lured out of a two-year retirement to face UFC star Conor McGregor, a 29-year-old southpaw from Ireland, for another $200 million-plus in earnings, Mayweather, 40, of Las Vegas, did what he always does: win and win handily. He moved to a perfect 50-0 and then retired again, this time presumably for good. Mayweather’s relatively easy win in a fight that could shatter all box-office records, came as no surprise considering McGregor was making his pro boxing debut.
Even so, McGregor can hold his head high. He came to fight, won a few early rounds, showed heart and determination, and made it interesting. However, he was still fighting the master, even if Mayweather looked his age, as the layoff and a 21-year career had taken its toll. At least they left the fans satisfied with a decent enough fight, so there was no sense they had been fleeced for the $100 pay-per-view price and massively overpriced tickets the way so many felt after Mayweather’s awful fight with Manny Pacquiao in 2015.
Mayweather eventually began to land at will. In the 10th round, he landed a series of punches against a badly tiring McGregor, including a huge right hand that nearly floored him, and referee Robert Byrd waved it off at the 1:05 mark, giving Mayweather his first KO in six years and sending him out with a perfect record.
Gervonta Davis (19-0, 18 KOs) KO8 Francisco Fonseca (19-1-1, 13 KOs)
A junior lightweight title remains vacant
Rafael’s remarks: As sensational as Davis looked in winning a world title by seventh-round knockout of Jose Pedraza in January, and in his mandatory defense against Liam Walsh, a third-round destruction in May in London, he looked that bad against Fonseca. The 22-year-old southpaw from Baltimore looked in poor condition, clowned around and was extremely sloppy in the fight. He had been stripped of the belt the day before for weighing 132 pounds, two over the division limit, and then won the fight against Fonseca, 23, of Costa Rica on a foul that referee Russell Mora failed to call.
Davis did land many excellent uppercuts, but he did not appear to have a plan, just charging at Fonseca, who could have won the vacant belt with a victory. Davis rocked Fonseca many times, but when he landed a shot behind Fonseca’s head and then pushed him down, Mora, incredibly, ruled it a knockdown. He totally blew the call and counted Fonseca out at 39 seconds. Davis said he wants to stay at junior lightweight and to try to reclaim his belt. He has work to do.
Badou Jack (21-1-3, 13 KOs) TKO5 Nathan Cleverly (30-4, 16 KOs)
Light heavyweight title
Rafael’s remarks: While Andre Ward holds the top-tier title, Jack impressively won its secondary title with a blistering performance against two-time titlist Cleverly, 30, of Wales. Jack, 33, a Swedish native fighting out of Las Vegas, was moving up in weight following a draw in a super middleweight title unification slugfest with James DeGale in January and looked superb in the new weight class, where he hopes to get a fight with world champion Adonis Stevenson. It is a makable fight given their association with manager Al Haymon.
Jack started fast and finished strong. Cleverly, making his first title defense after claiming the belt from Juergen Braehmer in October, said Jack broke his nose in the third round, and Jack then had a huge fourth round. Jack continued to lay a beating on Cleverly in the fifth round, which forced referee Tony Weeks to call it off at 2 minutes, 47 seconds.
Andrew Tabiti (15-0, 12 KOs) W10 Steve Cunningham (29-9-1, 13 KOs)
Scores: 100-90, 97-93 (twice)
Rafael’s remarks: Tabiti, 27, a Chicago native fighting out of Las Vegas, stepped up in class of opponent by facing former two-time world titleholder Cunningham, 41, of Philadelphia, and passed the test with flying colors. He utterly dominated Cunningham, who always gives his all but has seen better days. It was a very boring fight, but Tabiti controlled the pace all the way and showed a strong jab against a good opponent, who appeared much bigger than he. Tabiti probably still needs a couple of more fights to prove that he is more contender than pretender, while Cunningham fell to 1-3-1 in his last four bouts.
Yordenis Ugas (20-3, 9 KOs) W10 Thomas Dulorme (24-3, 18 KOs)
Scores: 94-91, 93-92, 93-92
Rafael’s remarks: In a crowd-pleasing scrap, Ugas scored a big win as a late replacement yet again. This time, he took the fight on nine days’ notice when former welterweight world titleholder Shawn Porter withdrew following a death in his family. Ugas quickly accepted the fight and put on a good performance in the main preliminary bout on Fox before the start of the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor pay-per-view.
Ugas, 31, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist who defected from Cuba and is now based in Miami, scored a pair or knockdowns late in the second round but then found himself on the deck courtesy of a Dulorme right hand in the seventh. The round ended before Dulorme, 27, a former junior welterweight world title challenger from Puerto Rico, could throw another punch, and Ugas went on to claim the decision. Dulorme blamed referee Vic Drakulich for not allowing him to work the body by warning him about borderline low blows.
Saturday at Carson, California
Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) W12 Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-4-2, 24 KOs)
Junior middleweight title
Scores: 120-108, 119-109, 118-110
Rafael’s remarks: Cotto, already a lock for the International Boxing Hall of Fame, added to his resume by winning yet another world title, his sixth in four different weight divisions (he won the 154-pound belt vacated by Canelo Alvarez earlier in the year). It had been 21 months since Cotto was last in the ring, that being his decision loss to Alvarez in a middleweight world title fight. But despite the layoff, Cotto, 36, looked fantastic, easily taking apart Japanese brawler Kamegai, 34, whose ability to take punches is impressive, before a sold-out crowd of 7,689 at the StubHub Center.
In the HBO main event, Cotto, in his first fight since signing with Golden Boy Promotions, lashed him with every shot in the book in a one-sided beat down, but Kamegai, who is never in a bad fight, continued to press forward until the very end. Cotto just had way too much skill and power. That two judges found any rounds to give Kamegai was a surprise because this was as one-sided as it gets. Cotto snapped Kamegai’s head back with a left hook at the end of the first round, had him bleeding from the nose and mouth in the second, and never looked back as he landed cleanly in every round. According to CompuBox statistics, Cotto landed 339 of 839 punches (40 percent), and Kamegai landed 156 of 693 (23 percent).
Cotto said this was his penultimate fight. He plans to fight again on Dec. 2 (opponent to be determined, though it could be the Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin winner) at Madison Square Garden in New York, and then retire.
Rey Vargas (30-0, 22 KOs) W12 Ronny Rios (28-2, 13 KOs)
Retains junior featherweight title
Scores: 118-110 (twice), 115-113
Rafael’s remarks: In February, Vargas, 26, of Mexico, outpointed Gavin McDonnell on his English home turf to win the 122-pound world title vacated by Japan’s Hozumi Hasegawa upon his retirement last fall. Since then, Vargas has signed with Golden Boy Promotions, and in his first fight with the company, he made his first defense against Rios, 27, of Santa Ana, California.
Vargas, at 5-foot-10 — very tall for the weight class — had close to a four-inch height advantage on Rios, who had a very hard time getting where he wanted to fight on the inside. Vargas kept him at bay with a long jab and numerous combinations. Trained by the legendary Nacho Beristain, Vargas dominated most of the fight, though Rios never backed off. Rios landed a big left hook to hurt Vargas in the eighth round, but he could not follow up.
In the end, Vargas threw and landed way more punches, so this was not a tough one to score. According to CompuBox, he landed 295 of 974 punches (30 percent), and Rios connected on only 134 of 489 punches (27 percent).
Friday at Miami, Oklahoma
Sergiy Derevyanchenko (11-0, 9 KOs) TKO12 Tureano Johnson (20-2, 14 KOs)
Middleweight title eliminator
Rafael’s remarks: Derevyanchenko, 31, a decorated Russian amateur who now fights out of Brooklyn, New York, earned a mandatory title shot against the winner of the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin fight by stopping Johnson in the action-packed main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card. Johnson, 33, a 2008 Olympian from the Bahamas, applied intense pressure, but Derevyanchenko stood his ground, making for an excellent fight.
Derevyanchenko eventually broke Johnson down. In the 12th round, Johnson, cut over his right eye, was fading when Derevyanchenko knocked him down with a left hook, and referee Gary Ritter waved off the fight 40 seconds into the final round. Johnson got up and would have easily beaten the count, but Ritter obviously felt as though he had already taken too much punishment in the hellacious fight.
Hugo Centeno Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) KO3 Immanuwel Aleem (17-1-1, 10 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Centeno, 26, of Oxnard, California, suffered his only loss by 10th-round knockout to Polish contender Maciej Sulecki in June 2016 and has bounced back to win two fights in a row, including this sensational knockout victory over Aleem, 23, of Richmond, Virginia. Aleem was coming off a very impressive sixth-round upset knockout of heavily touted Ievgen Khytrov, but Centeno erased his momentum in the third round with one punch. Centeno landed an absolutely picture-perfect left hook smack on Aleem’s chin and flattened him in the center of the ring, and referee Gerald Ritter counted him out at 2 minutes, 27 seconds. This is a knockout of the year candidate.
Also on the card, middleweight Charles Conwell (5-0, 5 KOs), 19, a 2016 U.S. Olympian from Cleveland, knocked out late substitute opponent Rey Trujillo (1-2-1, 0 KOs) of Houston 32 seconds into the second round of their scheduled four-round bout.