Sunday Report Card, Dec. 3: The Ultimate Weekend Wrap-Up

The Sweet Science’s Diego Morilla compiles a full weekend wrap-up of the most relevant boxing events in the worldwide scene with short recaps, links to videos and other articles, and all the info you need to keep up with the week’s most important results. Every fight that matters is right here, in one place, and at one click away. Follow us every Sunday on Twitter at #SRCatTSS @TheSweetScience @MorillaBoxing

New York, NY, Saturday December 2nd

Sadam Ali UD 12 Miguel Cotto, WBO junior middleweight belt

A sad ending for a terrific career. Cotto (41-6, 33 KOs) was looking forward to retiring in front of his adoring Madison Square Garden crowd with a victory and a title still wrapped around his waist, but fell short in what turned out to be a crowning achievement for Ali (27-1, 14 KOs) in this battle of former Olympians. Ali turned up the heat early on, putting the Puerto Rican legend in all kinds of trouble in the second and third rounds, and building up a lead that would be decisive later on, after Cotto allegedly tore a tendon in his biceps and was unable to sustain the great rally that he staged from the fifth round on. In the end, the grand finale ended in disappointment for those expecting a grand farewell when the scores were read favoring Ali by 116-112 and 115-113 (twice). Great achievement for Ali whom — even though he hails from Brooklyn — felt like the visiting fighter and the clear underdog before turning the tables on the retiring legend.

The winner goes on to: Lots of opportunities for Ali, a natural welterweight who put on a few pounds for this payday and is now a legitimate champion and a threat to any fighter at both 147 and 154.

The loser goes on to: Even if he had won, it was clear that Cotto was not the same as he was in his better days. He was badly wobbled earlier on and his defensive reflexes seemed to be eroding fast. Hopefully he will stay retired and leave us with the memories of his many terrific bouts to cherish forever.  

Rey Vargas UD 12 Oscar Negrete, WBC junior featherweight title

A rather nasty affair in its worst moments, and a barely OK fight in its best passages. Mexico’s Vargas (31-0, 22 KOs) was the much taller and much more experienced champion who was supposed to dominate the fight from his longer reach and better boxing skills, but Colombia’s Negrete (17-1, 7 KOs) had a different plan, leading with his head earlier on and trying to bully and manhandle the towering champ with rough tactics. By the 7th, Vargas was a bloody mess and was already being looked at closely by the ringside physicians after Negrete’s headbutts had opened two deep cuts on his eyelids. Only then did Vargas understand that he needed to keep the distance at all costs, and he did, boxing in circles around the onrushing Negrete to dominate him even more clearly down the stretch. In the end, the scorecards favored the champ by 119-108 (twice) and a wider 120-108.

The winner goes on to: We’re not going to assume that Rigondeaux will lose and come back down all the way to 122 to challenge Vargas, and a defense against Diego De La Hoya doesn’t seem feasible at the moment. And yet, I wouldn’t be surprised to see either fight happening in 2018.

Angel Acosta TKO 10 Juan Alejo, WBO junior flyweight title

Not everything was lost for the Puerto Rican fans in this great night of boxing. Acosta (17-1, 17 KOs) kept his 100% stoppage rate intact and grabbed a vacant title belt in the process in a complete demolition of Mexico’s “Pinky” Alejo (25-5-1, 15 KOs). The fight was supposed to be an interim title bout, but Japan’s Kosei Tanaka surprised everyone and joined the list of awesome fighters retiring in 2017 when he announced that his double championship, unbeaten professional run was finished. Acosta was able to then draw the inspiration of a partisan crowd that spurred the Puerto Rican KO artist to a dominant performance capped by a demolishing left hook in the 10th round.

Guadalajara, Jalisco, December 2

Ramon Alvarez UD 10 Johnny Navarrete, middleweights

Alvarez (25-6-3, 16 KOs), older brother of Canelo and his main inspiration to become a fighter, was never able to match his kid brother’s level, but he has had a few successes along the way, and this time he settled the score against Navarrete (34-11-2, 15 KOs) with a clear points win by scores of 97-93, 99-91 and 98-92 after their last fight in September ended in a draw.

Leicester, England, Saturday December 2nd

Anthony Yigit UD 12 Joe Hughes, junior welterweight European title

Yigit did it! The Swede nicknamed ‘Can You Dig It?’ traveled to England once again and defended his European belt by unanimous decision against a pretty bad hombre in Hughes, whose last defeat came at the hands of Jack Catterall and who took Tyrone Nurse to a 12-round draw to hold on to his Lonsdale belt he won against Andy Keates. Yigit (21-0-1, 7 KOs) survived an early onslaught by the bull-rushing Hughes (15-3-1, 6 KOs) and came back with a dominant performance down the stretch to win by scores of 118-110 (twice) and 119-109 and thus set up a fight against Josh Taylor, who was working the mics at ringside and pimping the impending confrontation.

Providence, R.I., Friday December 1st

Toka Kahn Clary TKO 7 John Vincent Moralde, 10 rounds, featherweights

Fighting in his hometown, Liberia-born Kahn-Clary (24-1, 16 KOs) defeated Moralde (19-1, 10 KOs) in a solid display of boxing and power. The Filipino challenger never found his momentum as Khan-Clary mounted a progressive offensive effort that only grew in intensity, forcing Moralde to quit on his stool after the end of the seventh round.

Tokyo, Japan, December 1st

Naoko Fujioka UD 10 Yokasta Valle, female WBO mini-flyweight title

Great victory for Fujioka (17-2, 7 KOs), a 42-year-old local fighter who won her fifth world belt against a much younger and definitely worthy contender in Costa Rica’s formerly unbeaten 25-year old Valle (13-1, 6 KOs), in a fight full of close rounds but in which the Japanese champ left no doubt of her dominance, grabbing the win by scores of 99-91, 98-92 and 96-94. Valle’s scrappy performance was hampered by a cut that affected her performance in the second portion of the fight, but by then the local credit had already built an impressive lead and was on her way to another terrific victory.

Photo credit: Tom Hogan/Hoganphotos/GBP

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