Casimero-Lazarte fight ends on sad note
A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:
Saturday at Los Mochis, Mexico
Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr. W12 Rodrigo Guerrero Junior bantamweight
Wins a junior bantamweight title
Scores: 119-109, 116-112, 115-113
Records: Sanchez Jr. (13-1-1, 7 KOs); Guerrero (16-4-1, 10 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In October, Guerrero, 24, of Mexico, scored an upset sixth-round technical decision to claim a vacant title against Raul Martinez in their rematch. Guerrero did not hold on to the belt for long as he lost it in his first defense on a competitive but clear decision to 21-year-old Sanchez, who won the title in front of his hometown fans. The 119-109 scorecard was an abomination. This was a much closer fight than that, but at least the right guy got the decision. Sanchez, a southpaw, was on his game. He landed a ton of left hands during the entertaining bout. But by the final round, Guerrero's swelling face was showing the signs of a tough fight. For Sanchez, he was taking a major step up in competition after facing extremely limited opposition since turning pro in December 2008. He won his sixth consecutive fight since going 0-1-1 in back-to-back bouts in late 2009 and early 2010.
Friday at Mar del Plata, Argentina
Johnriel Casimero TKO10 Luis Lazarte Junior flyweight
Wins a vacant interim junior flyweight title
Records: Casimero (16-2, 10 KOs); Lazarte (49-11-2, 18 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: There are so many bogus interim titles floating around these days because the sanctioning organizations just hand them out like flyers on a New York street corner. But the IBF is the one organization that uses them only in rare and legitimate circumstances. In this case, Ulises "Archie" Solis, the IBF's 108-pound titleholder, is sidelined with injuries for several months, so it sanctioned an interim title as per its rules. Unfortunately, however, it allowed Lazarte, the 40-year-old from Argentina who instigated two brutally dirty title fights with Solis (a gift draw and a legitimate decision loss), to participate against Casimero, 21, of the Philippines. Even before this disaster, Lazarte should not have been allowed near another title fight after the way he conducted himself against Solis.
The fight with Casimero was a disgrace to boxing as supposed fans -- hoodlums, really -- in Argentina rioted at ringside after the fight was stopped in the most appalling scene the sport has seen since the riot at New York's Madison Square Garden that followed the ending of the first Riddick Bowe-Andrew Golota fight in 1996.
Lazarte is the dirtiest fighter in boxing, which he displayed in both fights he had with Solis and again in this fight with Casimero, who has now won two fights in a row after dropping back-to-back fights (an interim junior flyweight title bout to Ramon Garcia by split decision in July 2010 followed by a fifth-round knockout loss in South Africa to flyweight titlist Moruti Mthalane in March 2011).
Lazarte uses his head intentionally, rabbit punches, hits low, mixes in some elbows and even bites, which he twice blatantly did against Casimero. Lazarte should simply be banned from boxing for his constant disregard for the rules. He started fighting dirty right away, holding Casimero behind the neck and using his head. Casimero, however, just kept swinging and damaged him around his left eye in the first round. Referee Eddie Claudio, who had a very busy fight, warned Lazarte for using his head early in the second round. In the third round, Lazarte hit Casimero on the break and knocked him down, which did not count because it was a foul. Claudio once again gave a hard warning for the dirty fighting. Claudio continued to try to maintain control, warning Casimero for holding in the fourth round and Lazarte for hitting behind the head. Late in the fourth round, they were fighting on the inside (and Lazarte was punching low) when they got tangled up, forcing them to fall to the mat, where Casimero appeared to kick to get away from Lazarte, who was hanging on to his legs. Claudio docked a point from Casimero for the foul, even though it was Lazarte who instigated the situation.
In the sixth round, Claudio finally docked a point from Lazarte for blatant punches behind the head. When Claudio took the point, Lazarte took out his mouthpiece and can clearly be heard (in comments translated from Spanish on the TyC broadcast) saying to Claudio, "Do you want to make it out of here alive?" Also in the sixth round, Lazarte clearly bit Casimero on the shoulder during a clinch, although Claudio did not see it.
In the eighth round, Casimero was answering Lazarte's shots behind the head when Claudio docked him another point for the foul. And at the end of the round, Lazarte again bit Casimero on the shoulder!
In the ninth round, Lazarte looked like he put on a nice acting job to get Claudio to give him time to recover from a supposed shot below the belt. Later in the round, Casimero dropped a fading Lazarte with a series of right hands. He was unsteady when he got to his feet and Casimero dropped him for a second time to all fours with another volley of blows as Lazarte had desperately tried to hang on to him. Lazarte looked dead on his feet when he got up and was lucky the bell sounded to end the round. But early in the 10th round, Lazarte was still desperately trying to hold as Casimero pounded him along the ropes. Debris from the crowd began to fly into the ring as Claudio stepped in to stop the fight as Lazarte was falling over. A few seconds later chaos erupted as more debris came flying into the ring as did numerous ringside chairs. It looked like an episode of WWE "Smackdown" and was one of the most disturbing scenes you will ever see. One spectator began to swing at Casimero. It was a full-on riot and a complete mess as bottles and chairs were hitting people in the ring. One of Casimero's corner men, Sean Gibbons, suffered a broken rib. Claudio needed stitches in his lip. Others were dropping like flies as they were hit with chairs. There was a complete lack of ringside security. In fact, it looked like one of the security guards threw a punch at Casimero during the mayhem, which included spectators fighting each other at ringside. Lazarte is a dirty fighter and his so-called fans are even worse. This was simply shameful.
Friday at Uncasville, Conn.
Demetrius Andrade KO2 Angel Hernandez Junior middleweight
Records: Andrade (16-0, 11 KOs); Hernandez (30-11, 17 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Andrade, 23, a southpaw from Providence, R.I., is one of the top prospects in boxing. He is a former world amateur champion and was a 2008 U.S. Olympian. As a professional, he has essentially grown up on ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights." This was another of his fights on the series. He was supposed to face Derek "Pooh" Ennis, but Ennis pulled out on Tuesday, citing a high fever. He was replaced later that day with Terrance Cauthen, an experienced 1996 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist near the end of his career. Then Cauthen quickly bailed -- without even notifying his manager or Star Boxing, the promoter of the card, and he was replaced by an even lesser opponent, the seriously faded Hernandez, 36, of Chicago, on two days' notice.
Hernandez was once a solid junior middleweight contender who lost a decision to Winky Wright in a 2003 title fight. However, that was a long time ago. Hernandez still has his huge heart and a willingness to mix it up, but he just can't do it anymore. There were some who feared for his safety entering this fight, so Hernandez had an array of medical tests before the fight -- above and beyond what was required -- just to be sure everything was OK. He was given a clean bill of health and faced off with Andrade despite being overwhelmed in every possible category. Andrade dealt with all the changes like a pro and then did what he was supposed to do when faced with an opponent he was vastly better than. He destroyed Hernandez, who lost his fourth in a row and needs to call it a career.
Andrade opened up on Hernandez right away, landing an assortment of head and body shots in the first round and taking almost no serious blows in return. It was very clear this was going to be a short night as long as Andrade continued to assert himself, which he did. In the second round, Andrade landed a series of hard shots and sent Hernandez down to the canvas on all fours. Moments later, Andrade nailed him with a clean left to the chin and followed immediately with a left to the body that dropped Hernandez face-first. Referee Steve Smoger, one of the best in the business, knew Hernandez was done and did not bother to count, calling off the fight at 1 minute, 39 seconds. Although Andrade was not remotely tested -- it was not his fault -- he at least showed that when faced with an overmatched opponent he could deliver the knockout he was expected to deliver. Andrade's co-promoters, Star Boxing's Joe DeGuardia and Banner Promotions' Artie Pelullo, need to step up his competition level. He seems game. After the fight, Andrade mentioned that he would like to eventually face titleholder Saul "Canelo" Alvarez or contenders Erislandy Lara and James Kirkland. He added that he would also be happy to move up to middleweight for a shot at titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Raymond "Tito" Serrano W10 Kenny Abril Welterweight
Scores: 97-92 (twice), 95-94
Records: Serrano (18-0, 8 KOs); Abril (11-5-1, 6 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Serrano, a 22-year-old prospect from Philadelphia, got a good test in his "Friday Night Fights" co-feature by Abril, 27, of Rochester, N.Y. Although Serrano ultimately outboxed Abril for the obvious decision victory in a good fight, he had to overcome a third-round knockdown. A crowd-pleaser, Serrano was aggressive but a little wild with his punches, so he was wide open when Abril, a southpaw, connected with a hard right jab and dumped him to the ground. Serrano seemed briefly dazed but not too badly hurt. Abril, however, never seriously followed up to see just how badly hurt he was. Maybe he was a bit drained from trying to make the weight. Abril originally weighed in 3½ pounds over the 141-pound weight limit, tried to take off the weight and still was over, forcing the contract weight to be changed and also forcing him to pay a piece of his purse to Serrano. Despite the knockdown, Serrano was able to outwork Abril over the rest of the fight, pushing aside the momentary problem. Afterward, Serrano said he was not hurt by the knockdown and said that he had slipped. That, however, is not true. It was a clean punch that deposited him on the mat. Abril lost his second consecutive fight to a prospect. In June, former Cuban amateur standout Yordenis Ugas dropped him and cruised to a unanimous six-round decision win.
Friday at Chubut, Argentina
Lucas Matthysse TKO6 Angel Martinez Junior welterweight
Records: Matthysse (30-2, 28 KOs); Martinez (13-2-1, 9 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Argentina's hard-punching Matthysse, 29, lost a controversial decision to former titleholder Devon Alexander in Alexander's hometown of St. Louis in June 2011 but was primed to face Erik Morales for a vacant belt as a substitute opponent in September on the pay-per-view undercard of Floyd Mayweather's fight with Victor Ortiz. However, Matthysse, suffering from a viral infection, had to pull out on short notice. Once Matthysse recovered, he blew out Sergio Omar Priotti in four rounds at home in Argentina in December. Now, in his second hometown fight in a row, Matthysse stayed busy with another knockout win, this time against Martinez, 20, of Mexico. Martinez, who dropped to 0-2-1 in his past three fights, took the tough assignment against Matthysse at the last minute as a substitute for Ivan Valle, who himself was a late substitute for original opponent Silverio Ortiz. Matthysse had no issues with Martinez, batting him around, especially in the fifth round, when he dropped him with a left hand and staggered him during the follow-up assault. Martinez made it through the round but retired on his stool one second into the sixth round. The victory sets Matthysse up for a return to the United States, where he will face former lightweight titlist Humberto Soto (57-7-2, 34 KOs) of Mexico in a potentially action-packed fight on HBO on May 19 on the undercard of the rematch between unified junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson and former titleholder Amir Khan at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Friday at London
Kevin Mitchell W10 Felix Lora Lightweight
Records: Mitchell (33-1, 24 KOs); Lora (14-9-5, 8 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In May 2010, Mitchell, 27, of England, was knocked out in the third by Michael Katsidis in their interim lightweight title bout. Mitchell had legal and personal problems and was out of action for 14 months after the defeat. But he came back in July and faced undefeated John Murray in a much-anticipated all-British showdown. It was a helluva fight and Mitchell returned to the win column with a rousing eighth-round knockout victory. Lora, of course, is not on the same level as Murray or Katsidis, but was a durable opponent as Mitchell stayed active with a bigger fight undoubtedly looming. Mitchell has designs on challenging lightweight titlist Ricky Burns this summer, a fight that probably could be made fairly easily because Mitchell and Burns are both promoted by Frank Warren. With Lora, 27, of Spain, dispatched, it is a fight that could happen. Lora put up a quality effort and survived a second-round knockdown from a left hand as Mitchell went on to claim the clear decision victory. As for why there is only one score for the fight, in nontitle British fights only the referee renders a scorecard, which was left up to James Davies in this one.
Friday at Palm Bay, Fla.
Orlando Cruz KO11 Alejandro Delgado Featherweight
Records: Cruz (18-2-1, 9 KOs); Delgado (15-6, 7 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Cruz, 30, of Puerto Rico, suffered back-to-back losses to former junior featherweight titleholder Daniel Ponce De Leon (a third-round knockout in February 2010) and Cornelius Lock (a fifth-round knockout in September 2009). But the 2000 Olympian shook off the bad stretch when he returned in October to score an impressive first-round knockout of previously undefeated Michael Franco in an upset. Now Cruz has won two fights in a row after a good performance in this knockout of Mexico's Delgado in the main event of a Telemundo card. Cruz was on his way to a clear decision victory when he ended it in the 11th round with two knockdowns. First he dropped Delgado with a flush left hand. Delgado survived the shot, but he was in bad shape and Cruz was all over him when the fight resumed. He landed about a half dozen shots, including another nasty left hand, and Delgado went down hard just as the bell was ringing to end the round, but the fight was waved off immediately. Delgado, 22, of Mexico, lost his second fight in a row and for the fourth time in his past six bouts.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.
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