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Monday, July 30, 2007
Updated: August 1, 5:11 PM ET
Scorecard: Forrest dominates Baldomir in dubious title bout

By Dan Rafael
ESPN.com


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

Saturday at Tacoma, Wash.
Junior middleweight
Vernon Forrest W12 Carlos Baldomir
Wins a vacant junior middleweight title.
Scores: 118-109 (twice), 116-112
Records: Forrest, 39-2, 28 KOs; Baldomir, 43-11-6, 13 KOs
Rafael's remark: Congrats to Forrest, who at 36, looked very good pounding away at Baldomir, whose head must be made of concrete. The meeting of former welterweight champions was an entertaining, but brutally one-sided scrap, as Forrest dominated. Seemingly healthy after so many injuries to his left arm, Forrest threw accurate jabs and hard right hands, but Baldomir was determined not to get knocked out.

It had been a year since Forrest's last fight, a controversial decision win against Ike Quartey. Baldomir, called "Cinderella Man" for his feel-good story of 2006 that produced consecutive upset victories against Zab Judah and Arturo Gatti, dropped his second in a row, including a massively lopsided decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. last fall. After this beating, the one-time feather duster salesman from Argentina said he probably would retire.

Forrest, who had a point deducted for a low blow in the ninth round, looked like he has more fight left in him. If he's healthy, he could be a factor in a big fight down the road although there is no obvious opponent out there for him at the moment. It would be nice to see him offer Quartey a rematch, but that's probably unlikely. One interesting match would be to see Winky Wright drop back to junior middleweight and fight Forrest in a meeting of the two men who defeated Shane Mosley twice. One thing we doubt we'll see is a unification fight. None of those fights hold any allure. Is anybody really interested in seeing Forrest unify belts with titleholders Cory Spinks, Joachim Alcine and Sergei Dzindziruk?

Now, a word about the credibility of the title Forrest claimed, one that became vacant after Mayweather won it from Oscar De La Hoya in May and then gave it up to return to the welterweight division. That the WBC sanctioned this as a title fight -- when it was originally supposed to be an eliminator and then an interim title bout -- is a joke. Forrest, with all due respect, was fighting for just the fourth time in four years and many felt like he lost his last fight. He surely hadn't earned a title fight. Baldomir, who had never campaigned at junior middleweight, was coming off a shutout decision loss, yet somehow was ranked ahead of Forrest in the WBC's hilarious rankings. He didn't deserve a title bout either. It's never stopped the WBC before.

Featherweight
Hector Velazquez Tech. Dec. 10 (accidental head butt) Mario Santiago
Title eliminator.
Scores: 98-93, 98-92 (twice)
Records: Velazquez, 48-11-2, 33 KOs; Santiago, 18-1, 13 KOs
Rafael's remark: Velazquez, a competent and tough journeyman, was supposed to be the big test for Santiago, a 29-year-old southpaw from Puerto Rico. If he could beat the rugged Mexican it would give Santiago his first serious win. Lose to him and there would be many questions about Santiago's viability as a real contender after being moved very carefully during his career. Santiago flunked the big test. Although the fight was called off in the 10th round because Velazquez suffered a bad cut over his left eye, he was well ahead when it went to the scorecards. Since being knocked out by Manny Pacquiao in September 2005, Velazquez has won five in a row and the victory against Santiago put him at the head of the line to fight for the title held by Injin Chi. Chi, however, owes interim beltholder Jorge Linares a fight first. Word out of Asia is that Chi is going to retire, which would pave the way for a possible Linares-Velazquez fight. That would be a good test for Linares, who probably won't fail the way Santiago did.

Saturday at Cancun, Mexico
Junior flyweight
Edgar Sosa W-DQ10 (low blows) Luis Lazarte
Retains a junior flyweight title
Records: Sosa, 28-5, 14 KOs; Lazarte, 37-8-1, 17 KOs
Rafael's remark: Three months after his surprising points upset win against Brian Viloria to claim a vacant 108-pound title in an exciting fight, Sosa made his first title defense against Argentina's Lazarte, the mandatory challenger. Sosa, who won his 16th bout in a row, was leading in the physical fight when Lazarte was disqualified for repeated low blow. Sosa, 27, hasn't lost since a 2003 majority decision to Ulises Solis, who now holds another version of the junior flyweight crown. Lazarte, 36, has had four title shots and lost them all, one at flyweight, two at junior flyweight and one at strawweight. Some things are just not meant to be.

Saturday at Tokyo
Flyweight
Koki Kameda W10 Cesar Lopez
Scores: 100-90, 100-92, 99-92
Records: Kameda, 16-0, 11 KOs; Lopez, 20-5, 4 KOs
Rafael's remark: Kameda, the 20-year-old Japanese sensation and former junior flyweight titleholder, continued to win at flyweight as he seeks another title bout after relinquishing his 108-pound belt. The flashy southpaw won a near-shutout decision against Lopez, of El Paso, Texas, who dropped his second in a row and fourth out of six. Kameda bloodied Lopez's nose in the fourth round and battered his body late in the fight. Eventually, Kameda will get another title shot. He is too big of an attraction in Japan not to be able to lure one of the titleholders into a lucrative match.

Friday at Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Welterweight
Andre Berto W10 Cosme Rivera
Scores: 98-91 (twice), 97-92
Records: Berto, 19-0, 16 KOs; Rivera, 30-11-2, 21 KOs
Rafael's remark: Berto, the 2006 ESPN.com prospect of the year and one of the most heavily hyped young fighters in the sport, showed that he is human as he stepped up the level of his competition against Rivera, a former world title challenger from Mexico and a tough-as-nails opponent. Although Berto won convincingly in the ESPN2 "Friday Night Fights" main event, Rivera cracked him with an uppercut in the sixth round and dropped Berto, 23, for the first time in his career. Most fighters get knocked down. They show what they are made of by getting up, and that's what Berto did. He was hurt, but the 2004 Olympian survived the crisis and he will be a better fighter for it down the road.

Rivera was just the kind of opponent Berto needed at this stage of his career, a guy who would fight back and test him. Although shaky for a minute, Berto passed. He came back strong from the knockdown to cut Rivera in the seventh round and win going away, even if he was helped by a convenient problem with the tape on his glove that gave him extra recovery time following the knockdown.

Berto will move on to another stern test against fringe contender David Estrada on Sept. 29 in a fight that HBO will televise on the undercard of the Jermain Taylor-Kelly Pavlik middleweight championship fight. Estrada, who gave titlist Kermit Cintron a tremendous fight in April 2006, earned his way into a bout with Berto by scoring a fourth-round knockout of Luther Smith in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Saturday night.

Heavyweight
Chazz Witherspoon TKO9 Talmadge Griffis
Scores: 98-93, 98-92 (twice)
Records: Witherspoon, 19-0, 13 KOs; Griffis, 24-7-3, 16 KOs
Rafael's remark: Witherspoon, the 25-year-old prospect and cousin of former two-time heavyweight titleholder Tim Witherspoon, took a step up in competition against Griffis and passed. Griffis had faced a number of good opponents, including Joe Mesi, David Tua and Clifford Etienne, and hung in with the slow-starting Witherspoon until he was worn down and stopped late. Witherspoon is one of America's most promising heavyweight prospects, but he's still awfully raw and probably at least six or eight fights away from anything really serious.

Friday at Albuquerque, N.M.
Junior bantamweight
Martin Castillo W10 Oscar Andrade
Scores: 100-90, 99-91, 98-92
Records: Castillo, 32-2, 17 KOs; Andrade, 36-28-1, 18 KOs
Rafael's remark:It was pretty easy work for Castillo, a former junior bantamweight beltholder. He won his second in a row since losing his title on cuts last July to Nobuo Nashiro in Japan. Castillo, prone to cuts, took 10 months off in order to have surgery to remove scar tissue and have the bone around his eyes shaved down (ouch!). Although Andrade cut Castillo over the right eye and under both eyes, none of the cuts was serious. We hope Castillo can return in the fall for a meaningful fight. Matches with titlist Cristian Mijares and exciting Jorge Arce have been mentioned by promoter Top Rank.

Friday at Miami
Light heavyweight
Glen Johnson KO5 Fred Moore
Records: Johnson, 46-11-2, 31 KOs; Moore, 30-7, 27 KOs
Rafael's remark: Johnson, the former world champ, just keeps on plugging away at age 38 as he won his second in a row following a September 2006 points loss to titlist Clinton Woods. In his previous bout, Johnson stopped former champ Montell Griffin in a May elimination bout to set himself up for a fight with the winner of the Woods-Julio Gonzalez mandatory fight. But with that fight delayed, Johnson wasn't about to sit around and wait. So, boxing in his adopted hometown, Johnson used a combination to knock Moore down for the count at 2:45 of the fifth. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise. The southpaw Moore, 40, has lost six of his last seven fights (five of them via knockout) and hadn't fought since November 2005. Whether it's a rematch with Roy Jones Jr., who Johnson flattened in 2004, a rubber match with Antonio Tarver, or a shot at titlist Chad Dawson, Johnson deserves another significant fight in his next bout.

Friday at Tucson, Ariz.
Junior welterweight
Francisco "Panchito" Bojado TKO10 Rogelio Castaneda Jr.
Records: Bojado, 18-2, 12 KOs; Castaneda, 23-13-3, 8 KOs
Rafael's remark: Once boxing's most promising prospect, Bojado, a 2000 Mexican Olympian, is in the midst of a second comeback at age 24. He notched his second win in a row following a nearly three-year layoff after his unexpected loss to James Leija in July 2004. Now, Bojado is back and with Golden Boy and trying to reach the massive potential he once showed. Bojado was in control against Castaneda before finally stopping him in the last round with a left hook. How dedicated Bojado is to this comeback is questionable. He was supposed to meet Castaneda at 142 pounds, but was six pounds overweight. He probably paid Castaneda for the overage and the fight went on anyway, but that is not a good sign. Nonetheless, Bojado was tuning up for a more significant fight that already has been set. He will face former junior lightweight titlist and "Contender" second season runner-up Steve Forbes on Sept. 15. The fight is on the HBO PPV undercard of junior lightweight champ Juan Manuel Marquez's first defense against former titlist Jorge Barrios. If Bojado isn't in shape for Forbes, he'll be in for a long night.

Lightweight
Jose Armando Santa Cruz TKO2 Dairo Esalas
Records: Cruz, 25-2, 14 KOs; Esalas, 29-9, 24 KOs
Rafael's remark: In his first bout since ditching promoter Top Rank to sign with Golden Boy, Santa Cruz scored two knockdowns in the second round en route to the early knockout victory. It was the second win in a row for Santa Cruz since last August, when he was dominating David Diaz until Diaz made a miracle comeback and knocked Santa Cruz out in the 10th round of their interim title bout. Esalas, who lost a decision to main event fighter Francisco Bojado in May, dropped his seventh fight out of his last eight, including five by knockout.

Junior featherweight
Antonio Escalante W8 Paulino Villalobos
Scores: 80-72, 78-74 (twice)
Records: Escalante, 15-2, 9 KOs; Villalobos, 26-37-2, 16 KOs
Rafael's remark: Escalante was a prospect zooming up the ladder when he ran into tough, old vet Mauricio Pastrana in January and suffered a surprising eighth-round knockout loss. Making his return, Escalante outpointed Villalobos, an experienced journeyman who has faced a who's who of top fighters but is now 2-16 in his last 18 bouts (but only stopped in two of the losses).

Friday at Ontario, Calif.
Junior welterweight
Timothy Bradley Jr. W10 Miguel Vazquez
Scores: 100-90, 99-91, 98-92
Records: Bradley, 21-0, 11 KOs; Vazquez, 19-1, 9 KOs
Rafael's remark: Bradley, an excellent prospect who turns 24 on Aug. 29, tuned up for a Sept. 7 fight on Showtime's "ShoBox." He worked Vazquez's body well and handed him his first defeat via lopsided decision. Despite Vazquez's glossy record, he was fighting outside of Mexico for the first time and had never faced anyone of remote note.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.