Soto-Karass stops Berto with one punch
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Soto-Karass stops Berto with one punch
By Vikram Birring at ringside, Doghouse Boxing (July 29, 2013)

(Photo © Tom Casino / SHOWTIME)
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Records deceive.

Jesus Soto-Karass has eight defeats on his ledger, but a closer inspection displays that these defeats were against top competition, early in his career, or flat out robberies.

Ten months ago, he gave as well as he took against monstrous Argentine Marcos Maidana, until the bout was waved off in the eighth round, some say prematurely.

He responded with a surprising victory over the strong Turk Selcuk Aydin, who had only one defeat prior.

Now he was being matched up against Andre Berto, who at one time was a sparking prospect, but in the two bouts where a Floyd Mayweather bout was on the line, he was unable to win.

Against Victor Ortiz, who was written off as a quitter after walking away in a barnburner against the aforementioned Maidana, Berto traded knockdowns with Ortiz but was unable to keep the furious Ortiz off of him, and was simply out willed to a decision defeat.

Then, against Robert Guerrero, Berto was shockingly bullied around the ring by a former lightweight and nearly stopped.

Now, Berto was in a position Soto-Karass had been in many times, in a crossroads bout with the future of his career lingering in the balance.

As his robe was removed, Berto resembled a bodybuilder; muscular with not an ounce of fat on him. But in boxing, muscles do not equate to automatic victory. The bout between a lanky Kelly Pavlik and Edison Miranda comes to mind. Pavlik knocked Miranda out, though their physiques were as contrasting as could be.

Berto (28-3, 22 KO), as usual, was the faster, quicker fighter. For a few rounds he seemed to dart his punches as he pleased, as Soto-Karass (28-8-3, 18 KO) spent time trying to figure it out. Soto-Karass showed a level of patience not seen until recently, trying to stick to boxing instead of brawling.

Then, as the rounds went along, Soto-Karass began to catch Berto at times. For someone so athletic, Berto gets hit more than one would think he should.

Despite that, the bout was close most of the way, with many rounds hard to score. It was a tactical bout, which was not expected coming in. Also, Berto was compromised by an injured right shoulder, which he made obvious by making various movements with his arm.

Then, in one instant, the complexion of the bout, and the lives of two men changed. Berto threw a punch, Soto-Karass slipped it, and like TNT, a left hook exploded on the side of Berto’s head.

Berto went down like a sack of potatoes. The previously bored audience woke up with a roar.

Berto got up, but was on rubbery legs.

Referee Jon Schorle stopped the fight without giving a count, which seemed a bit unfair. The boxer is at least due the respect of being given an eight count, especially if he has the ability to stand up. After that, the referee can make the choice of asking him to walk forward, raise his gloves, answer a question, but Berto was not even given this dignity. Whether it would have made a difference is a moot point, but the inconsistency of the rule is somewhat appalling. That being said, surely Schorle, no pun intended, was looking out for the best interest of the health of Berto. In the long run, it was probably the best decision. Nobody wants to see another Gerald Watson scenario.

Official time was forty-eight seconds of the twelfth round. Soto-Karass now has a future of another opportunity to progress the winding tale of his career, while Berto will take a look in the mirror and evaluate whether there is a future for him in boxing at all.

Omar Figueroa is the best boxer to come from the valley area of Southwest Texas in some time, if not ever. The young baby-faced sensation has been making noise for a while locally, but when he stopped Miguel Cotto’s cousin Abner in the first round in April, the boxing world took full notice.

His name was thrust into discussions with former unified lightweight champion Juan Diaz, but before that, in his way was Japan’s Nihito Arakawa.

Figueroa (22-0, 17 KO) started the bout strong, stunning Arakawa (24-3-1, 16 KO) in the first round. He was boxing’s version of a propeller, never stopping his punching. In the second, he knocked Arakawa down. Arakawa got up and attacked Figueroa on the ropes. Figueroa managed to dodge some of the punches and countered at times, but he realized at that moment that it was going to be a long, hellacious night.

From there the pattern continued. Arakawa was a buzz saw, throwing punch after punch, as Figueroa stood on the ropes, took some punches but countered as well. Arakawa landed some huge roundhouse lefts from his toes, but Figueroa took them well, even though he was cut on the bridge of his nose.

In round six, Arakawa again went down, but again and showed great determination in attempting to win.

The pattern of back and forth warfare never stopped, the only difference being Figueroa’s occasional flashier flurries which caught the attention of the crowd and his partisan fans. In the end, Figueroa was victorious 118-110 on two scorecards and 119-107 on the other.

Despite the victory, one has to wonder how much this fight took out of Figueroa. He took some gargantuan punches from Arakawa, and many others as well. Instead of standing on the outside and boxing, where he had success when doing so, he chose to stand in the pocket and attempt to dodge and weave Arakawa’s volleys, with varying degrees of success. He is not James Toney or Bernard Hopkins, who can roll the punches off their shoulders with ease.

He is a young man, but this kind of fight makes a young man age years in a single night. But Figueroa’s nature is that of a brawler, so for better (for the fans) or worse (for his long term health), he is what he is, and will put on entertaining bouts every time out. However, the result of this bout probably raised the eyebrows of a certain Baby Bull from Houston, Texas, whose prospects at such a bout don’t look so high risk anymore.

Keith Thurman and Diego Chaves are both punchers with the type of power that is a gift from God. It’s rare when two such undefeated boxers face off, but the fans were in for a treat as the sluggers tried to take the zero from the other.

Buenos Aires’s Chaves (22-1, 18 KO) won the first few rounds, as he showed excellent defense, rolling under many of Thurman’s leaping hooks, and landing his own shots as he pleased.

In round four, Thurman (21-0, 19 KO) made an adjustment. He let Chaves chase him, and began to counterpunch. He used lateral movement, and Chaves was a sitting duck, confused and taking punches. He was unable to adjust to the adjustment.

Thurman seemed to have the momentum for the rest of the bout, but didn’t have any big moments until the ninth round, when he put Chaves down with a crippling body shot.

Chaves never really recovered, as Thurman put him down in the tenth round, this time for good. Official time was twenty-eight seconds.

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