Californian Coliseum

By Steve Bateson on June 22, 2014
Californian Coliseum
Guerrero puts the Mayweather defeat behind him with a FOTY contender

Robert Guerrero, making his comeback after a thirteen month layoff, headlined this show from the StubHub Center, Carson, California with a fantastic, fight of the year contender, twelve round unanimous decision over the very game and courageous, Yoshihiro Kamegai.

Guerrero (32-2-1 with 18 KO’s), last seen losing a one sided decision to Floyd Mayweather in May last year, displayed no ring rust as he marched forward at the first bell to meet his opponent in the centre of the ring. If he was expecting Yoshihiro Kamegai (24-2-1 with 21 KO’s) to cut him a wide berth then he was very much mistaken; the Japanese fighter had come for a brawl.

And brawl they did. Both men stood toe to toe from the outset, swapping crunching body shots, and it soon became clear that technical ability was not going to be a factor in this contest. Robert Guerrero is clearly the more talented boxer but he had no intention of winning by that method; he wanted to beat Kamegai at his own game.

Both men were cut, Kamegia’s nose and Guerrero’s left eye, but it seemed as though no matter how much damage they sustained, neither man was willing to budge even an inch. Guerrero was briefly flustered by a right hand in the fourth and then he had Kamegai backing off with a swinging left hook in the eighth but still they stood tall.

Each body shot was met with a wince from the audience but iron torsos where on display as well as iron chins, it was increasingly obvious that this one was destined for the scorecards. Guerrero’s handlers may have believed that this was a great chance for him to get back on track, an opportunity to move up the rankings, but even they cannot have imagined their charge would have to take as many punches as he did from a pretty unknown foe.

Kamegai was very impressive and made this fight as competitive as it possibly could be but in the end it was the faster hands of Guerrero that probably just about swayed the judge’s decision, he was able to land more punches and outwork his foe at crucial periods.

Guerrero lived up to the translation of his name and proved his guile and determination as he engaged in a straight shootout with a known puncher and came out with his hand raised in victory. Against more talented opposition he will need to tighten up his defence but as far as the fans are concerned, he should fight like this every single time he steps inside the ring.

A great fight between two very battle-hardened warriors and they should be proud of their efforts. Kamegai deserves more paydays against crowd-friendly fighters and Guerrero should be back in with a top 10 ranked contender by the end of this calendar year.

Something about the StubHub Center just inspires great fights, maybe they should use the venue every week.

Scorecards: 116-112, 117-111 x2

Former two time Olympic Champion, Vasyl Lomachenko made history and got his hands on the vacant WBO Featherweight Championship at the second time of asking after gaining a majority decision over Gary Russell Jnr in an absorbing twelve round contest.

Lomachenko becomes the joint fastest boxer to become a world champion, having only three paid contests to get his hands on a major organisation’s bauble, tying for first place with Thailand’s Saensak Muangsurin, who won the WBC light-welterweight belt in 1975.

The key to victory was the fantastic body work from the Ukrainian fighter, which he employed from the get go, as it helped to take away the legs of the much faster Russell Jnr. In only his third professional fight, Lomachenko (2-1 with 1 KO) displayed all the talent that has made him the most feared fighter in the amateur ranks, and in the end it was a little too much for the previously unbeaten Russell Jnr (24-1 with 14 KO’s)

Russell Jnr is supremely quick and many times in the fight he was able to put together combinations which bamboozled Lomachenko but he was never able to hurt his opponent and in the end that was the difference maker.

Rounds five and seven were the most clear cut of the fight as Lomachenko uses debilitating body punches to hold Russell Jnr in place before detonating with sickening uppercuts that left the American clinging onto his senses. Russell was able to negotiate the danger and come back fighting but in the end his efforts proved futile.

Russell Jnr went twelve rounds for the first time his career and although he was defeated he can draw many positives from what was a very close, hard-fought, bout. Lomachenko will be linked with high profile clashes against the likes of Guillermo Rigondeaux and Nonito Donaire but Russell Jnr shouldn’t be written off, I would expect him to be back in the title mix by the summer of 2015.

Scorecards read: 114-114; 116-112 x2

Devon Alexander needed to make a statement after losing his IBF Welterweight title to Shawn Porter in December and he did not disappoint as he outclassed perennial gatekeeper Jesus Soto Karass (28-10-3 with 18 KO’s) over ten rounds.

Alexander (26-2 with 14 KO’s) displayed all of his boxing abilities and really overwhelmed Karass with barrage after barrage of combinations. Soto Karass was as brave and hearty as ever but he never even looked capable of putting a glove on Devon Alexander, it really was a one-sided beating.

Karass has always had a fan-friendly style and victories over the likes of Selkuk Aydin and Andre Berto meant he had to be taken seriously but Alexander was in a whole different league in this fight and you would have to believe that world title contention once again beckons for “The Great”. He outboxed Karass from the outside and then at times chose to engage in a slugfest and still dominated his Mexican foe, I scored it a complete shut-out for the St Louis fighter.

Soto Karass’ face was reddened and swollen in places after absorbing plenty of punishment and you have to wonder where his career can go from here. He has been a tremendous servant to the sport but he takes far too many punches and it would be a shame to see him against an opponent whose blows leave a lasting impression.

The scorecards read: 97-93 (very kind to Soto Karass) and more realistic 99-91 x2

Chad Dawson returned to the ring for the first time since his 1st round drubbing from Adonis Stevenson, last June, and wasted no time in getting back to winning ways as he took out the overmatched George Blades (23-6 with 16 KO’s) in just over two minutes.

Dawson, fighting at Cruiserweight due to inactivity, was too slick and too strong for Blades. A left to the body dropped “Honey Boy” for an eight count and soon after the fight re-started Blades was on the deck again from two snapping right hands. The referee counted Blades out and handed “Bad” Chad one of his easiest victories to date.

Influential Al Haymon will now look to position Dawson in with a ranked contender back at 175lbs and hopefully move the former p4p’er back into title contention by early next year.

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Robert Guerrero vs Yoshihiro Kamegai full fight 21.06.2014



Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Gary Russell Jr - Full Fight



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