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Monday, September 19, 2005
Weekend scorecard: Barrera holds the cards

By Dan Rafael

A roundup of the weekend's notable boxing results from around the world:

Saturday at Las Vegas
Junior lightweight
Marco Antonio Barrera W12 Robbie Peden
Unifies junior lightweight titles
Scores: 118-109, 118-108 (twice)
Records: Barrera 61-4; Robbie Peden 25-3
Rafael's remark: Barrera continues to roll along at the top of his game, the upset loss to Manny Pacquiao now nearly two years old and well in the rear-view mirror. Barrera dominated Peden, his former sparring partner, to unify the 130-pound belts in a masterful performance. Barrera boxed at times and slugged at times, but he was in total control at all times. Although Barrera suffered a cut and lost a point for a borderline low blow in the 10th round, it didn't matter. With rival Erik Morales losing in an upset last week, Barrera put even more distance between him and his greatest rival with this victory. Barrera now has many options for lucrative fights. He could attempt to become the first Mexican fighter to win titles in four divisions by challenging the new 135-pound titlist, Jesus Chavez, who won a belt on the undercard. Barrera also could give featherweight king Juan Manuel Marquez a chance at a major fight or he could try to further unify belts with fellow Golden Boy-promoted titlist Jorge Barrios. Eventually, there probably will be a rematch with either Pacquiao or Morales, but they are tied to each other for their own rematch at the moment. No matter. The world is Barrera's at 130, and everyone else just lives in it.
Sugar Shane Mosley W10 Jose Luis Cruz
Scores: 98-92, 97-93, 96-94
Records: Mosley 41-4; Cruz 32-1-2
Rafael's remark: In Mosley's second bout since dropping back to 147 pounds from 154, he easily outpointed the Cruz, one of the slowest fighters we've ever seen. But he was strong and sturdy and barely flinched when Mosley cracked him with right hands. It was not the sort of dynamic performance we were expecting from Mosley. He still didn't throw the fluid, fast combinations or work the body like he used to when he dominated the welterweight division. All in all, it was a solid, but unspectacular victory, sort of like his first fight back at 147 in April, when he outpointed David Estrada. It's amazing that Mosley hasn't scored a knockout since he drilled Adrian Stone in a 2001 welterweight title defense, a span of eight fights. Still, Mosley has a big name and ought to find himself in a marquee fight soon against someone like undisputed champ Zab Judah, titlist Antonio Margarito or junior welterweight titlist Floyd Mayweather. None of them will be easy to beat.
Jesus Chavez TKO11 Leavander Johnson
Wins a lightweight title
Records: Chavez 42-3, 29 KOs; Johnson 34-5-2
Rafael's remark: Chavez, a former belt holder at 130 pounds, made a successful move to 135 pounds to win his second title in an overwhelmingly dominant performance against Johnson, although the unfortunate outcome overshadowed Chavez's achievement. Johnson, a 16-year-year ring veteran, was making the first defense of the vacant belt he won in June but he had very little to offer. He took a beating until referee Tony Weeks stopped it late in the 11th round, with Chavez punishing Johnson at will along the ropes. Sadly, Johnson collapsed in the dressing room after the fight and was rushed to the hospital, where he had surgery to control bleeding and swelling of his brain. After surgery, he was put into a drug-induced coma. Promoter Lou DiBella said Sunday that he had improved slightly overnight and that doctors were hopeful he would live. For Chavez, winning the risky fight propels him to bigger business, including the possibility of a lucrative fight with Marco Antonio Barrera, who could come up from 130 to challenge for the title.
Junior lightweight
Vicente Escobedo TKO2 Gregory Piper
Records: Escobedo 7-0, 7 KOs; Piper 7-4
Rafael's remark: Escobedo, a 2004 U.S. Olympian, impresses with his punching power even though he continues to face extremely limited competition. He dropped Piper in the first round and three more times in the second until the bout was stopped. How about a small step up in competition?
Junior featherweight
Abner Mares TKO4 Selso Bosquez
Records:Mares 6-0, 5 KOs; Bosquez 3-1
Rafael's remark: Mares, a 2004 Mexican Olympian, scored a first-round knockdown en route to a dominant victory. Like Golden Boy stablemate Escobedo, Mares is one of the premier prospects in the sport and a staple of Golden Boy's big fight undercards. Someday, we expect both of them to headline those kind of cards.
Junior welterweight
Naoufel Ben Rabah W12 Arturo Morua
Scores: 119-107, 118-108, 116-110
Records:Rabah 24-1; Morua 22-7-1
Rafael's remark: Rabah, of Australia, knocked Morua down in the ninth and 12th rounds to secure a victory in an eliminator that gets him closer to a mandatory title shot against champion Ricky Hatton.
Junior middleweight
Kofi Jantuah W10 Hicklet Lau
Scores: 100-90, 99-91 (twice)
Records:Jantuah 29-2; Lau 19-14-2
Rafael's remark: Jantuah pitched a near-shutout against Lau, who is now 2-8 in his last 10 fights. Mismatches like this make us sick. Jantuah is a world class contender and should not be fighting a guy with virtually no chance to win. We're still trying to figure out why Jantuah opted for this garbage fight instead of a title eliminator for more money against Rodney Jones in November. When Jantuah complains that he can't get another title shot, he'll have only himself to blame.

Saturday at Phoenix
Grover Wiley TKO5 Julio Cesar Chavez
Records: Wiley 30-6-1, 14 KOs; Chavez 107-6-2
Rafael's remark: Hopefully, the long, pathetic goodbye of Chavez has ended. He disgracefully quit on his stool in front of 7,893 after five rounds against a car salesman from Nebraska who took the fight on only a few days' notice. Isn't enough finally enough for Chavez? Besides, who would pay money again to see a washed up, 43-year-old quitter? Chavez said he quit because of a right hand injury, but most fighters would not fold over a hurt hand. Wiley, of course, said Chavez quit because he was beating him. Bottom line: Chavez should never fight again and obviously no longer has the stomach for combat. And we no longer have the stomach to watch him fight. Promoter Bob Arum should refuse to promote any of his future fights, even if Chavez decides against retirement. If Chavez does fight on, no commission should license him either. A by-product of the defeat is that Chavez's son, Julio Jr., will try to avenge the loss on the Nov. 12 Vitali Klitschko-Hasim Rahman HBO PPV undercard. It's a gimmick, but the diehard Chavez fans probably will eat it up. That's fine as long as they don't fall for another of Chavez's "adios" bouts.
Junior welterweight
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. KO2 Corey Alarcon
Records: Chavez Jr. 22-0, 17 KOs; Alarcon 12-11
Rafael's remark: It might not have been a good night for his famous father, but Julio Jr. did exactly what he was supposed to do: Continue to blow out the horrific opponents his matchmakers dig up for him. At least with his next fight there is a storyline: He'll seek revenge against Wiley, the man who defeated Junior's father, on the undercard of the Nov. 12 Klitschko-Rahman heavyweight championship fight.
Jose Luis Zertuche TKO8 Jesus Gonzales
Records: Zertuche 16-2-2, 13 KOs; Gonzales 17-1
Rafael's remark: Zertuche, an all-action fighter and former Olympian for Mexico, stopped Gonzales in front of his hometown crowd, exposing him as more suspect than prospect. Zertuche knocked him down near the end of the sixth and two more times in the eighth, when the referee stopped it.

Saturday at Kinder, La.
Junior welterweight
DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley TKO9 Johnny Walker
Records: Corley 31-4-1, 17 KOs; Walker 18-18
Rafael's remark: We certainly understand Corley, a former title holder, wanting to take things slowly on the road back from a fifth-round TKO loss to Miguel Cotto in February. But we think he's getting carried away. Corley has fought and won twice since the setback to Cotto, but he has faced the most putrid competition available on planet earth, something that there is no excuse for a world class contender to do. First came a July fight against Kevin Carter, who was 9-45-1 entering the bout. Believe it or not, Walker was actually an improvement, but he has now lost 15 consecutive fights. What a joke. How are we to take Corley's comeback seriously when he fights such utter abominations?

Friday at Chicago
Sandro Marcos KO2 Johnny Tapia
Records: Marcos 27-13-2, 22 KOs; Tapia 55-5-2
Rafael's remark: It has been over for Tapia for awhile now, but this loss ought to make it official for anyone who still harbored hope that he would once again be a champion. A title shot against 122-pound belt holder Israel Vazquez over the summer fell apart and now the fight probably won't ever be scheduled. Tapia, who won multiple titles at 115, 118 and 126 pounds, simply is worn out after taking so much abuse in the ring and abusing himself so severely with drugs outside it. Against Marcos, he was slow and stiff and then Marcos landed a whale of a hook to the body that dropped Tapia to all fours and took his breath away. It was a clean knockout and the first time Tapia has ever been stopped.

Friday at Duluth, Ga.
Lakva Sim TKO12 Ebo Elder
Title eliminator
Records: Sim 21-4-1, 18 KOs; Elder 22-2
Rafael's remark: This was a one-sided, dominant performance from Sim, a former title holder at lightweight and junior lightweight. The victory earned Sim a mandatory shot against titlist Juan Diaz, the same fighter to whom an injured Sim lost his 135 title in 2004. The native of Mongolia punished Elder in front of his hometown crowd, slamming one eye shut and cutting the other one. Sim knocked Elder down five times officially, but there were at least two other knockdowns that the he was robbed of by an overgenerous referee. Good thing Sim knocked the overrated Elder out, too. Two ringside judges were either corrupt or incompetent -- they actually had the fight even going into the 12th round. With all the knockdowns Sim scored, that is virtually impossible. That's the very definition of hometown judging and the reason fighters need to bring their own two judges (their fists).

Friday at Albuquerque
Female junior welterweight
Holly Holm W10 Christy Martin
Scores: 100-90 (twice), 98-92
Records: Sim 21-4-1, 18 KOs; Elder 22-2
Rafael's remark: Holm, fighting in front of a hometown crowd, scored a shockingly one-sided decision against Martin, who once ruled as the premier female fighter. But Martin is 37, has lost two of her last three and is no longer the fearsome fighter she once was. Perhaps Martin's heart just wasn't in this one. It might have been hard for her to motivate herself for her first bout since a July showdown -- one potentially worth $1 million -- with rival Lucia Rijker was canceled because of an injury to Rijker.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for