Showtime results: Mares decisions Cuellar; Charlo stops Williams
Abner Mares earned a split-decision victory (117-110, 116-111, 112-115) over Jesus Cuellar on Saturday night at the USC Galen Center in Los Angeles, California. The WBA “regular” featherweight title contest was the main event of a Showtime telecast and the inaugural promotion of Ringstar Sports.
“I feel so good. It’s been a long time. We had the perfect game plan,” said a joyous Mares after the win.
A perfect game plan it was indeed. Mares expected Cuellar to come forward and try to ignite a firefight but his innate ability to fight off the back foot thwarted the Argentinean’s ideas. He was the aggressor for the fight’s entirety but most of Cuellar’s punches were just short of catching a backpedaling Mares. Beginning in the third round, Mares started to touch up Cuellar’s body, which was open for the taking every time he lunged forward.
“He was a little flat,” admitted Freddie Roach, Cuellar’s trainer. “Abner had a good strategy. He moved and held and it worked.”
Mares, 30-2-1 (15), showed his experience with the timely holding and referee Jack Reiss never saw it happen. Nonetheless, Cuellar’s aggression made some rounds closer than they may have seemed, not to mention, when his shots did land, they certainly had a resonating effect when compared to Mares.
“They said (Cuellar) was a power puncher. They said he was going to knock me out but I proved that I have some power too,” said Mares. He proved that in the 11th round, in which Mares landed a perfect straight right hand on Cuellar’s chin. The defending 126-pound titlist had just landed two shots of his own before the knockdown happened but Mares took them well and caught Cuellar lunging forward.
“He definitely had the boxing skills going today,” admitted Cuellar, 28-2 (21), post-fight. “I would have preferred a rough fight but Mares had his skills today. I want a rematch. I gave him the opportunity and now I think it’s fair that he gives it to me.”
In the co-feature of the Showtime telecast, Jermall Charlo sent Julian Williams to the canvas three times en route to a thrilling fifth round knockout victory. With the win, Charlo successfully defended his IBF junior middleweight title for the third time.
“Leading up to this fight, Julian Williams talked and I held it in,” said Charlo to resounding boos from the 5,680 in attendance. “I did what I had to do to become the champion of the world and I deserve my respect. He disrespected me all the way up to the fight. I made the fight happen. I gave the fans what they wanted to see. I stayed at 154 pounds, although I do want to move up to 160, just to fight someone the world said I couldn’t beat.”
Charlo, 25-0 (19), was booed after Williams came over to his corner to congratulate him but was still emotional.
“I said, ‘I don’t want your congratulations. I want your apology,'” Jermall opined. “I don’t care what they say; I knocked him out. No matter what they say about me, I’m going to continue to work hard. I did what my trainer told me to do. I stayed in there and – bang – the shot came home. I never disrespected this dude, never, until I knocked him out.”
The knockout came by way of a perfect left uppercut on Williams’ chin in the fifth round. Williams, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had just risen from a knockdown moments earlier in the round and, on wobbly legs, Charlo, Houston, Texas, finished him in memorable fashion.
“I just got caught. I was fine after the second round and kept going. He just caught me,” admitted Williams. In that second round, Williams, 22-1-1 (14) was dropped by a jab from Charlo but the 26-year-old, who was fighting in his first world title fight, wasn’t afraid of his bigger opponent. His moments of success came by timing his counter right hook off Charlo’s long jab.
“I just want to tell Julian Williams I’m sorry,” said Charlo, once the adrenaline simmered down. “No matter what, people have to respect my accomplishments. He just wasn’t on my level. I told everyone what I was going to do since the fight was announced.”
In a bloody affair, Sergey Lipinets was victorious after knocking out Lenny Zappavigna in the eighth round of an IBF junior welterweight title eliminator.
Zappavigna, 35-3 (25), played the role of aggressor to start and he seemingly edged the early rounds, solely due to a trigger-happy game plan. With his lead left hand down for the fight’s entirety, Lipinets, Martuk, Kazakhstan, basically welcomed the fight with his stance alone. However, in the fourth, his lax defense rewarded him with a nasty cut on his forehead. Lipinets was momentarily stunned by a Zappavigna right hand and, in the last half of the round, he was battered around the ring by the Australian.
The ringside doctor had to examine the cut before the fifth round began but Lipinets had retribution in store for Zappavigna. Brutal exchanges commenced and the Kazakh slowly turned the tide of momentum after each standoff. During one of them, a left hook caught Zappavigna’s chin and it sent him to the mat for a knockdown. Zappavigna slowly took his time getting up and, although he fought out the rest of the round, he returned to his corner with a gash above his left eye.
In a moment of deja vu, Zappavigna was being examined before the seventh round by the ringside doctor. The two had just put together another action-packed round in the sixth but, again, Lipinets provided the memorable moments. In the seventh, Lipinets furthered his onslaught with two body shots that clearly had Zappavigna slowed down.
With his counterpart now worn down in the eighth, Lipinets turned up the heat. A right hand caught Zappavigna flush and the Aussie slowly crumbled to the canvas. Zappavigna’s legs were already wobbly on the way down and he wasn’t able to beat referee Tom Taylor’s 10-count.
“Yes, this was my toughest fight. It’s bloody and rugged but no problem for me,” said Lipinets, 11-0 (9), after the important victory. “This was an eliminator and now I want my next fight to be for the world championship. Julius Indongo has the IBF title and now I’m the mandatory.”
“I left it all in the ring. I fought my heart out and I came here to give it my best. Even though I’m disappointed with the loss, I am at peace with the result because I know I couldn’t have done anything else,” Zappavigna opined in defeat. “I wish Sergey all the best in his world title fight.”
The younger brother of Abner, Adan Mares fought to a draw with Evincii Dixon in a four-round junior welterweight scrap. Mares, 14-1-4 (3), had the crowd’s support behind him but Dixon, 7-15-2 (2), kept up with Mares’ offense. All three official judges at ringside scored the competitive match identically: 38-38.
Erickson “The Hammer” Lubin was explosive in his second round knockout of Juan Ubaldo Cabrera. Fighting out of Orlando, Florida, Lubin was a bit tentative to start but all it took was the first three minutes in order to feel out his opponent. Cabrera, 23-2 (15) was forced into a fight in the second and, after an accumulation of shots, fell to the canvas early in the round for a knockdown. Lubin, 21, followed it up with a perfect straight right hand that had Cabrera’s back slowly touching every rope as he dropped and referee Ray Corona didn’t even bother with a count.
“He was a little awkward in the first round. I set him up with my jab and I knew I hurt him in the second. That’s when I knew it was time for him to go,” said Lubin, 17-0 (12), after the win. “I think that fight definitely proves that I’m in the discussion as one of the top up-and-comers in the sport but I don’t feel any pressure. I’m back in the gym on Monday.”
Josesito Lopez won his only fight of 2016 after earning a unanimous decision over Todd Manuel (60-54 twice, 59-55). Lopez, 34-7 (19), was dominant over Manuel, 12-12 (1), thanks to a jab that was always followed up by a right hand.
Hugo Centeno Jr. got himself a win over Ronald Montes, once the super middleweight contest was stopped between the third and fourth rounds by referee Tony Crebs. Centeno, 25-1 (13), gets back in the win column after suffering his first defeat last June at the hands of Maciej Sulecki. Montes, 17-5 (15), suffers his third stoppage loss in his past four outings.
In the opening bout of the card co-promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, lightweight prospect Mario Barrios stayed undefeated, knocking out Claudio Rosendo Tapia in the second round. Barrios, 17-0 (9), knocked down his Argentinean foe twice in the fateful round and Tapia, 28-18-4 (13), was clearly outmatched within the first six minutes.