That is how long the title fight lasted – a round and a half. Anthony Joshua (16-0) had not even warmed up before the mockery of a heavyweight champion in front of him fell apart. Charles Martin (23-1-1) is a remarkable exception in the sport where sometimes boxers pose as champions and play their part until the bluff is inevitably called. In this case there was a champion posing a boxer and his bluff was blown to pieces in no time. This was Martin’s 25th fight and his first loss, so there are 24 or so heavyweight boxers out there who are even worse.
Anthony Joshua (15-0) will challenge Charles Martin (23-0-1) for his IBF heavyweight title this Saturday. Tyson Fury was stripped of the title after he refused to fight the mandatory challenger Vyacheslav Glazkov due to his contractual obligation to fight Klitcshko and Charles Martin fought Glazkov for the vacant strap. Glazkov quit with a leg injury and Martin was awarded a TKO win.
Andre Ward (29-0) fought for the first time in the light heavyweight division and outpointed Sullivan Barrera (17-1) bumping him off the mandatory challenger spot for the IBF title held by Sergey Kovalev. The Russian watched the fight from ringside and apparently happy at what he witnessed, he stated he wants to fight Ward in the same venue in front of Andre’s home crowd. He had at least two reasons to be happy, first Ward won as expected and cleared the path for the mega fight. Secondly, Ward’s performance, although victorious, indicated he does not belong in this weight class or at least not on top of it, he simply does not have the fire power and physical strength for it.
Sullivan Barrera (17-0) and Andre Ward (28-0) are scheduled to fight each other this Saturday at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Ward’s hometown. Barrera, an ex-Cuban amateur who turned pro in 2009, is the mandatory challenger for Sergey Kovalev’s IBF title but he will fight Ward instead who is rated fourth after one fight at light heavyweight. The Cuban is advertised as an amateur standout but the last time he stood out was back in the year 2000 when he won the World Junior Championship.
Two bouts from the WBA heavyweight tournament took place on Saturday night as Luis Ortiz (25-0) amicably mowed down Tony Thompson (40-7) while Lucas Browne (24-0) beat the odds and an eight count to stop Ruslan Chagaev (34-3-1), claimed the WBA title and emerged as the first ever Australian heavyweight champion.
Luis Ortiz is scheduled to defend his WBA interim title against Tony Thompson on March 5 in Washington, DC. Ortiz belongs at the top of the division but has a hard time getting the exposure and especially the fights that he deserves.
Ortiz is fighting Thompson as a last resort after he was turned down by 5 other heavyweights. The Cuban is clearly being avoided and there is feeble excuse but obvious reasons for the reluctance of the big boys to face him in the ring. His record is 24-0, his skills are remarkable and he has gone the distance only once in an eight-rounder 6 years ago.
(Photo credit: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Roc Nations Sports) Andre Ward resurfaced after a long absence and steamrolled British super middleweight Paul Smith at the Oracle Arena in Ward’s native Oakland, Cal. Ward spent two of his best years away from the prize ring due to legal and promotional disputes. He came back as shiny as new and kept his opponent in the crossfire for 9 rounds before the bloodied Smith was bailed out by his corner.
If there was any ring rust, it was shadowed by the skill differential which gave Ward full convenience. Coming from a 19 month layoff he was not expected to choose a tough challenge although Smith was no push over. The Brit went the distance twice with Arthur Abraham in his last two fights. This probably legitimized him as an opponent for Ward who did much better than Abraham. The American was on a different level and had an indecently easy time against his tough but over-matched foe. Ward exhibited his boxing talent and his speed allowed him to do whatever he pleased in the ring. There was a catch though, the catch weight clause.
Beterbiev fought Alexander Johnson (16-3) and scored his 9th KO in as many fights on Friday night at the UCI Pavilion in Chicago. Johnson, a southpaw with agreeable boxing skills, had a height and a reach advantage over the Russian icebreaker and lasted longer than the previous victims. The American was never really in contention but he gave it a try. Beterbiev’s total boxing made Johnson look as if he was in a different sport. The southpaw stance did not help him; in fact it facilitated Beterbiev’s lead right hands.
Miguel Cotto stopped Daniel Geale in the 4th round to defend his WBC middleweight title last night at the Barclays center in Brooklyn, NY. This was the first defense of the belt Cotto won with an excellent performance against veteran Sergio Martinez last year. The winner grabbed the trophy and ran for a whole year before he made a “prudent” choice of bypassing the real challenges in favor of fighting a no-threat opponent. His reluctance to face his mandatory GGG has transpired unequivocally and it seems he would rather be stripped than face a middleweight proper. Apparently he and his team will sit on the title and negotiate its release rather than make a a stand for it – those “middies” hit too hard anyway.
Cotto commented: “My weight yesterday was 153.6 pounds; you think I’m a middleweight? I’m not.”
That’s as clear as it gets regarding a GGG showdown. The Puerto Rican champ stated that if people want his fight with Saul Alvarez to happen, it will happen. He must have noticed that more people appear to want him to step up to his obligation and face his WBC mandatory challenger.
(Photo credit: Naoki Fakuda) Amir Khan (31-3) unanimously outpointed Chris Algieri (20-2) on May 29 and his performance raised more questions than it answered. He won beyond any doubt but did not really dominate the slightly bigger New Yorker and came across as a fast but fragile contender with a power shortage. In fact his lackluster outing may have increased his chances of a big payday as he is obviously not a major threat to the key players at welterweight and he appears to be a low risk opponent for them regardless of the bold hype. Boxing without hard punches is aerobics.
Chris Algieri is perhaps at the peak of his career and he may have unwittingly accepted the position of a gatekeeper/measuring stick of the division after he went the distance with Pacquiao.