World championship boxing presented by Bob Arum's Top Rank returned to the Mecca of Boxing Madison Square Garden last night with a WBO World Welterweight title bout between boxing veterans and future Hall of Famers, Amir Khan (33-5, 20 KOs) and Terence Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs). Despite the fact that Crawford entered this bout as the favorite in betting circles, many boxing insiders believed that this would be a competitive matchup between two proven warriors. Unfortunately, Khan did not live up to the expectations of these boxing analysts.
Crawford started the fireworks early in the main event with a first round knockdown. The shot that sent Khan crashing to the canvas was a big right hand to the head. Although Khan pulled himself up from the mat, Crawford's message had been sent loud and clear to Khan, who appeared to be on shaky legs for the remainder of the opening frame. Khan answered the second round bell a scared man, fighting most of the round with cautionary and defensive maneuvers.
Khan appeared to settle down in the third round when he started to let his hands go against Crawford, who appeared to hold back offensively throughout the round. In the fourth round, Crawford unloaded on Khan with a multi-punch combo. Khan, again being reminded of Crawford's power, moved away from the pressure and chose not to exchange blows with the "Pride of Omaha." Crawford continued to stalk Khan, and around the 30 second mark of the fourth, hurt Khan again with a viscous multi-punch combo. Khan, hoping to make it to the bell, "jumped on the bike," and moved away from Crawford. He saved face in the eyes of the fans by cracking Crawford with a hard right hand to the head as the bell rang.
Crawford snapped Khan's head back with a well-placed right hand to the head in the fifth. For the remainder of the round, Khan's form "went to hell" as he swung wildly at the calm and composed Crawford. At the end of the round, Khan walked back to his corner a frustrated and disheveled man. In the sixth round, Crawford connected with a left uppercut that landed below the belt. The referee, taking notice of the incidental low blow, called for a timeout to give Khan adequate time to recover. Instead of taking the full five minutes he was entitled to, Khan informed the ringside physician and his corner that he was unable to continue in the bout. The end came at the 47 second mark of the sixth round of a scheduled 12 round contest. Crawford walked away the winner by TKO, and called out Errol Spence in his post-fight interview.
Knockout artist and Brooklyn native Teofimo Lopez (13-0, 11 KOs) added another knockout to his record last night over Finland's Edis Tatli (31-3, 10 KOs). Both fighters spent the opening round feeling one another out. Lopez put pressure on Tatli in the second round. Tatli employed some "fancy" footwork in the fourth round, as Lopez stalked him around the ring. Tatli had a smart game plan through four, choosing to not brawl with the dangerous and tough Lopez. Lopez finally caught up with Tatli towards the end of the fourth, landing a series of big shots that forced Tatli to wrap him up.
Lopez landed a hard right hand to the ribs of Tatli that dropped the fighter to his knees. The referee counted Tatli out at the 1:32 mark of the fifth round. Lopez celebrated his eleventh knockout victory with a back flip.
Newark, New Jersey's Shakur Stevenson (11-0, 6 KOs) continued his winning ways last night, and in the process captured the IBF Intercontinetal and NBO Featherweight titles. Stevenson's opponent Christopher Diaz (24-2, 16 KOs), trained by legendary trainer Freddie Roach, wore trunks that paid homage to the Philadelphia Phillies logo text style. The two fighters spent the first round feeling one another out. Stevenson fought a smart second round as he landed several solid and clean shots, and displayed outstanding defense against his tough veteran opponent.
Stevenson proved to be the faster fighter throughout round three, giving Diaz problems adjusting to his style. Stevenson connected with a big straight left to the head in the third. Later in the round, a multi-punch combo around the 30 second mark shook Diaz. By the fifth round, every shot Diaz landed was answered by double the number of shots by Stevenson. Stevenson peppered a frustrated Diaz with multiple straight left-right hand combos in the fifth round.
By the sixth round, Stevenson was toying with Diaz as he tee'd off on him at will. Diaz winced under a hard left hand in the first minute of the sixth round. In the seventh round, both men were noticeably taking turns stepping on one another's lead toes as they threw punches.
In the tenth and final round, the two fighters were openly taunting one another. Both fighters cruised through this round. The only "notable" moment involved Stevenson urging an exhausted Diaz to come forward and strike him. The judges scored the bout 100-90, 99-91, and 98-92 for Stevenson.
The pay-per-view portion of the card kicked off at 9:00 PM EST with a lightweight fight between Bryan Vasquez (37-4, 20 KOs) and Felix Verdejo (25-1, 16 KOs). In what could have been a competitive fight, Felix Verdejo dominated the ten round contest. Verdejo picked up the momentum in the second, when he easily won the round by landing the cleaner shots throughout the frame.
In the third round, Vasquez aggressively came forward numerous times but was always greeted with a Verdejo jab to the head. As the round came close to its end, a cut appeared under Verdejo's left eye. Verdejo connected with a big left-right hand combo to the head of Vasquez in the fifth.
Verdejo continued to put pressure on Vasquez in the sixth and seventh round, but Vasquez escaped these attacks or wrapped his opponent up. In the eighth round, Verdejo landed a big right to the head, followed up with multi-punch body shots. In the tenth round, Vasquez hurt Verdejo with a left to the head. Both men, on shaky legs, exchanged big shots in the center of the ring during the final seconds of the fight. The judges scored the bout 97-93 twice and 98-92 for Verdejo.
Frank Galarza (20-3-2, 12 KOs) fought Carlos Adames (17-0, 13 KOs) for the NABF/NABO Super Welterweight title. The two fighters spent the first round feeling each other out. The big highlight of this opening round was an Adames big left hand to the side of Galarza's head. There was limited action again in the second round as both men continued to fight cautiously from a safe distance. Adames, who is trained by Robert Garcia, came out swinging in the third round.
Adames followed up his offensive onslaught in the fourth round, when he knocked Galarza down in the first 30 seconds of the round with a left hand to the jawline. Adames jumped all over Galarza when he pulled himself up from the canvas. He beat Galarza into the corner with a viscous multi-punch combo that forced referee Benjy Esteves to call a halt to the action at 1:07 of the fourth round of a scheduled ten rounds.
Edgar Berlanga (10-0, 10 KOs) made fast work of Samir Barbosa (37-16-3, 26 KOs) last night. Berlanga, the fan favorite, put pressure on Barbosa early in the opening frame of a scheduled eight round middleweight contest. A Berlanga left hand to the jaw stunned Barbosa, and sent him stumbling back into the ropes. The referee saw enough at the 46 second mark after Berlanga landed two consecutive straight right hands to his opponent's face.
Ireland's Larry Fryers (10-1, 3 KOs) defeated Dakota Polley (5-3, 2KOs) in a six round super lightweight contest. The two fighters spent most of the first round feeling one another out. Fryers hammered away at Polley, the son of current professional Byron Polley, in the second round after appearing to settle into his fighting rhythm. Fryers landed big right and left hands to the head of Polley, coupled with an increase in body shots during this frame.
By the fourth round, it was evident that Fryers was throwing more punches. Despite this fact, Polley was not the one with swelling under both eyes. By the fifth round, Fryers had officially landed more punches in every round than his opponent.
The action was paused in the fifth round around the 1:59 mark after the referee noticed the bad cut above Polley's right eye caused by an accidental headbutt. The doctor examined the cut and opted to allow him to continue. Soon after the timeout, Fryers went on the attack and knocked Polley off balance with a multi-punch combo. Polley returned to his corner with blood running down the side of his face. Polley's cut man certainly earned his paycheck last night at the Garden!
Before the start of the sixth round, the ringside physician took another look at Polley's eye and allowed him to continue. Polley lost a point in the sixth for what appeared to be rabbit punches. All three judges scored the bout 60-53 for Fryers.
Two-time Indian Olympian Vikas Krishan (2-0, 1 KO) continued his winning ways as a professional in the super welterweight division with a unanimous decision victory over Missouri's Noah Kidd (3-2-1, 2 KOs). Krishan answered the opening bell throwing big shots, however, slowed down midway through the round. Krishan connected with a flush right hand to the jaw of Kidd in the first round.
Krishan landed a series of big left hands to the head and body of Kidd in the third round. At the end of the third round, blood trickled out of a cut on the side of Krishan's right eye. A Krishan left hook to the Kidd's head in the fourth appeared to take the steam out of him. This shot forced Kidd to readjust his defensive stance, as he clearly kept his guard up to better protect his head as the fight continued.
Kidd's big uppercuts and shots forced Krishan to backpedal into the ropes in the fifth round. In the sixth and final round, Kidd, realizing he was behind in the cards, desperately charged at Krishan looking for a late knockout to no avail. The judges scored the bout 60-54 twice and 59-55 for Krishan.
Garza spent much of the third round trying to punch up at Newton. These upward shots opened himself up for Newton to bang away at Garza with quality body work. Garza tried to battle back in the fourth but was peppered with clean and accurate shots as he moved forward. Garza showed spirit in the closing seconds of this round by landing a hard right hand on Newton's jaw.
Garza chased Newton in the fifth round, until Newton began to pick Garza apart with multi-punch combos to the head and body. The two men had a good exchange in the final round, but Newton again had the advantage during this frame by landing the cleaner and more effective shots. Garza looked smoked as the final bell rang. The judges scored the bout 59-55 twice and and 60-54 for Newton.
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