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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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