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Golovkin smashes Stevens

By Matt Richardson and Mariano A. Agmi
Photos by Emily Harney

Gennady Golovkin continued to run roughshod over the middleweight division on Saturday night.  In yet another in a string of exciting, yet dominant stoppage victories, the WBA/IBO middleweight title-holder knocked down and battered Curtis Stevens for eight rounds before the corner of Stevens elected to not let their fighter continue into the ninth.  The fight was the main event of an HBO-televised card from an almost sold-out Theater at Madison Square Garden. 

It marked another lopsided win for Golovkin (28-0, 25 KOs), his fourth inside the distance this year.  The victories have likely established “Triple G” as the best middleweight in the world, despite the linear title that champion Sergio Martinez still holds. 

Stevens, meantime, backed up his pre-fight bravado by fighting hard but ultimately his skill level and punching power were simply outmatched. Stevens (25-4, 18 KOs) did, however, fight harder in defeat than he had to that point in his career.

After a relatively uneventful opening round, both men began throwing more punches in the second. Golovkin connected with two good rights in the final minute.  Once the fighters began opening up, Golovkin landed two, consecutive left hooks that dropped Stevens on the seat of his pants.  Stevens hit the canvas hard and had a shocked, wide-eyed look on his face as he rose.  After taking the majority of the eight-count on one knee, Stevens got to his feet to commence the action.  Golovkin moved in for the final stoppage but wound up getting hit with a big left hook that temporarily halted his momentum. 

Following a third round in which Stevens seemed to still be finding his senses, he bounced back well in the fourth, landing both a left and a series of rights toward the end of the frame.  The punches had the crowd roaring but Golovkin absorbed them well and appeared unfazed going back to his corner.  The Brownsville-born Stevens also did decently in the fifth with additional rights.   Stevens began the sixth by doing much of the same but once “Triple G” began landing his right, Stevens was forced to retreat.  The difference in punching power was evident as Stevens was clearly rocked more by Golovkin’s shots than vice versa. 

Stevens’ nose began bleeding in the eighth.  He took a series of rights and body punches along the ropes while referee Harvey Dock stayed close by, ready to halt the fight.  After the round concluded, Dock walked toward the corner of Stevens and on the advice of the head trainer Andre Rozier, elected to call the bout off. 

Final punch statistics once again illustrated the utter dominance of the power puncher from the Kazakhstan.  Golovkin connected on almost half of his power punches thrown:  185 of 381 for a 49% connect rate.  Stevens connected with just 74 power shots.  Overall punch statistics for the bout were slightly closer but Golovkin also edged his opponent there for 37% of 794 shots thrown compared to 32% for Stevens.---Matt Richardson


Perez batters Abdusalamov

In a slugfest between unbeaten heavyweight southpaws, Mike “The Rebel” Perez (20-0, 12 KOs) battered and outlasted Magomed “Mago” Abdusalamov (18-1, 18 KOs) over ten thrilling rounds to win the WBC United States heavyweight title.  The bout served as the HBO co-feature.   

Perez, a Cuban fighting out of Cork, Ireland, met Abdusalamov, a Florida based Russian trained by former world champion John David Jackson, in the center of the ring and the two immediately began trading heavy shots.   The 28-year-old Cuban walked Mago down in round one behind a right jab and later stunned the Russian with a counter left hand before being warned by Referee Benji Esteves Jr. for straying low. 

His nose bleeding from absorbing Perez’s straight left hands, the 32-year-old Abdusalamov responded with solid lefts and a heavy uppercut in round two, but "The Rebel" seemed to take the shots well. 

The contest became a phone booth war in round three, as the fighters took turns landing huge compact blows on the inside that caused the right eye of Perez to swell.

Mago continued to press the action in round four, landing a right hook but missing wildly with a follow up left hand.  Abdusalamov followed up with a left hand and a big uppercut, but the Cuban managed to land a right hook to the body despite taking heavy punishment.

Perez, who recently signed a promotional contract with K2, turned the tide of the fight in rounds five and six, increasing his punch output and landing right hooks and straight left hands.  Abdusalamov responded with an uppercut, but his face was beginning to swell and he continued to bleed from the nose.

Abdusalamov looked as if he’d been in a car accident by round seven, swelling grotesquely and bleeding from his left eye.  The Russian attempted a big left hand, but Perez smiled at him and continued pressing forward.

Perez stalked Magomed in round eight, landing a big uppercut in the process.  The weary Mago responded with a series of shots but they did not seem to have an effect on Perez.  In round nine, Referee Benji Esteves deducted a point from Perez for another low blow.

Perez hurt Mago with a left hand in the final stanza and battered him around the ring.  Mago, promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz, weathered the storm and fought back courageously, but it was not enough for the win, as judge John Stewart scored the bout 95-94 while Julie Lederman and Don Trella saw the bout 97-92.  FightNews had it 96-93 for the Rebel.---Mariano A. Agmi


Afolabi bores in win over Janik

Ola Afolabi won a twelve-round majority decision against Poland’s Lukasz Janik in a cruiserweight fight for the vacant IBO title.  Afolabi (20-4-4, 9 KOs) frequently barreled forward but often got caught in clinches instead, prompting boos from the action-thirsty MSG crowd.  Janik (26-2, 14 KOs) did well late in the fight but cuts over both of his eyes seemed to hamper his ability to fight effectively.  His approach of winging single punches didn’t help much in what turned out to be a largely insipid fight.  For what it’s worth, former multi-division champion Roy Jones Jr., who announced another comeback fight this week himself, seemed to be watching the action in the ring very closely, perhaps scouting a potential fight for himself in the below-heavyweight division.

As for the fight itself, Janik was badly cut over his right eye and was rocked in the tenth but was able to hold on, despite the flesh wound.  Janik’s corner did a commendable job stemming the flow of blood in the eleventh and their boxer actually found some (minimum) success with a combination along the ropes in the round.   Both boxers were more active in the twelfth although a brawl in the final seconds of the fight was an anomaly compared to the action of the previous 11-plus rounds.

Scores for the bout were all over the place; one judge had it even at 114-114 while those were overruled by scores of a more realistic 117-111 and 115-113.---Matt Richardson


Harrison defeats Torres for 7th win of 2013

In a hard fought battle for the WBC welterweight Youth Title, popular Washington DC native Dusty Hernandez Harrison (18-0, 10 KOs) kept his unbeaten record intact, winning a ten round unanimous decision over New Mexico’s Josh “Pitbull” Torres (12-3-1, 5 KOs)

The 19-year-old Harrison appeared to have the faster hands and quicker reflexes in round one, landing sharp jabs and counter right hands.  Harrison received a warning from the referee in round two for landing an elbow to the eye of Torres.  As the round came to a close, the 23-year-old Torres responded with a left hook and a right hand.

The shorter Torres lived up to his nickname, trading hooks with Harrison before mixing his attack to Dusty’s head and body.  The fighters went toe-to-toe in round five, with Harrison appearing to smother his attack when in close due to his longer reach.

The "Pitbull" continued to press forward in round six, landing a left hook that opened a cut over Harrison’s right eye.  Harrison won rounds seven through nine, displaying good defense to avoid most of the incoming while flurrying and moving out of reach. 

Bleeding from the mouth, Torres was nevertheless able to stun Harrison with a left hook in the tenth and final round.  Torres followed up with an uppercut before Harrison returned the favor, buzzing his opponent with a couple of right hands along the ropes.  Unfazed, Torres dug to Harrison’s body and ripped a left hook to the head as the bout came to a close.  The judges scored the bout 100-90 and 98-92 (2x) for Harrison, who was fighting for the seventh time this year.---Mariano A. Agmi


Diaz defeats Green

In a junior lightweight affair, unbeaten Joel Diaz Jr. (13-0, 12 KOs) overcame a second round scare from Bryne Green (7-7-1, 3 KOs) to win a six-round unanimous decision.  Green momentarily stunned Diaz in the second but Diaz was able to regain control of his senses relatively quickly and was doing well again by the end of the round.  Diaz then dropped Green with a left hook to the body.   Green went down again in the fifth after absorbing another combination, although exhaustion seemed to be the real culprit behind his trip to the canvas.  All of the judges submitted identical tallies of 60-52.---Matt Richardson


Akbarbayev shuts out Clookey

In the opening bout of the evening, Kazak native Isa Akbarbayev improved to 11-0 (7), winning a four round unanimous decision over tough New Yorker Brian Clookey (4-1-2, 2 KOs) in a battle of undefeated cruiserweights.   Employing a steady body attack and enjoying a significant height and reach advantage, Akbarbayev was able to outbox and survive a late rally by Clookey, who was looking to end the night with a big shot despite bleeding from his left eye.  Scores were 40-36 (3x).---Mariano A. Agmi


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