More News And Notes On Boxing

By Francis Walker
Updated: August 3, 2008

WBC junior middleweight champion Sergio Mora poses with former champion Vernon Forrest (photo credit: Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions)

WBC junior middleweight champion Sergio Mora poses with former champion Vernon Forrest (photo credit: Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions)

NEW YORK — Former WBC welterweight and junior middleweight champion Vernon Forrest (40-3, 29 KOs) was granted a rematch with newly crowned champion Sergio Mora (21-5-1, 5 KOs).

Forrest-Mora II will be the co-featured attraction to Juan Manuel Marquez’ challenge of Joel Casamayor on HBO Pay Per View, Saturday, September 13, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The event will commence on Mexican Independence Day weekend.

Mora stunned the boxing community in June when he came from behind to beat the more experienced and more seasoned Forrest, via majority decision. The judges scored the bout 116-112, 115-113 (Mora), and 114-114 (even). Forrest started off fast, but apparently tired during the championship rounds.

“Even though I won the championship from Vernon in June, I know that my claim as a champion will not be solidified until I beat him again, so I’m very excited about this fight,” said Mora said.

“I will leave no doubts as to who the best 154 pound fighter in the world is on September 13th, and if Vernon thinks he can beat me on Mexican Independence Day weekend, then I obviously hit him even harder than I thought in our first fight.”

Mora’s biggest claim before the Forrest bout was his appearance on “The Contender” reality series. No way was he supposed to have beaten someone with Forrest’s skills and experience.

Sergio Mora and Vernon Forrest engage in a stare down at a Los Angeles press conference (photo credit: Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions)

Sergio Mora and Vernon Forrest engage in a stare down at a Los Angeles press conference (photo credit: Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions)

Forrest beat Shane Mosley twice and holds wins against former world champs Ike Quartey and Vince Phillips. After shoulder surgery and a lengthy absence from boxing, Forrest came back to beat Carlos Baldomir for a world title and had a career-best knockout performance against Michele Piccirillo last year.

Forrest is 37 and Mora is 10 years younger. Perhaps Forrest simply got old over night. “I respect Mora and give him all the credit in the world for his win in our first fight, but on September 13th, he will see the real Vernon Forrest,” said Forrest. “I’m gonna warn him now that I will win this fight and I’m not leaving it up to the judges this time.”

Clottey wins the big one, becomes IBF welterweight champion

In another highly anticipated welterweight clash, Joshua Clottey (35-2, 21 KOs) bested Zab Judah (36-6, 25 KOs) to win his first world title. Clottey was awarded a razor thin unanimous technical decision at the Palms in Las Vegas. HBO televised.

The bout was stopped at 1:22 of round nine. Judah’s right eye was marred in blood. It was originally ruled that the cut above Judah’s eye was the result of an accidental head butt, however, Clottey landed a punch that left a gash. The fight went directly to the scorecards and the ninth round was scored. Clottey led 86-85 (twice) and 87-84 on the official scorecards.

“I was throwing the right hand and that’s when he got cut,” Clottey said. “The fight was very tough. I thought I was winning because of my right.”

Clottey, a 31 year-old from Accura, Ghana, won his first world championship (IBF welterweight title) in his second attempt. In Clottey’s first world title fight nearly two years ago, he was beating the WBO champion Antonio Margarito. Clottey injured his left hand in the fourth round and Margarito rallied to win a 12-round decision.

Clottey won the IBF title, the belt that Margarito vacated before knocking out Miguel Cotto for the WBA title last Saturday in Las Vegas. It’s only right that Clottey and Margarito fight a rematch to unify the IBF/WBA 147-pound crowns. Especially since there first bout was a good fight.

Judah’s wasted opportunities

As for Judah, he’s 30 and has only won two of his last seven fights. Judah fought a hard and disciplined fight. However, Clottey’s endurance and solid boxing skills began to break Judah down. Judah needed to win this fight in order to prove that he is amongst the elite welterweight champions.

This was perhaps his last opportunity to make everyone a believer that perhaps he could be great. But every opportunity that Judah has had when he was at the top of his game was squandered for whatever reason.

Judah is most recognized for who he lost to, rather than who he beat. His loses were shocking and his conduct was regrettable, as Judah was given his share of suspensions. The Kostya Tszyu defeat in November 2001 changed everyone’s perception of Judah following his post-fight tantrum.

When he squandered the undisputed welterweight title in a loss to Juan Carlos Baldimor was an embarrassment. He was nearly DQ’d in a fight with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. a couple of years ago. Cotto stopped Judah last year as well.

Darchinyan starches Kirilov

Vic Darchinyan is a fan of the knockout. Darchinyan presses his opponents until he achieves his desired result — a knockout victory.

Darchinyan not only knocked out another foe, but he also became a world champion once more. Darchinyan (30-1-1, 24 KOs) knocked out Dimitri Kirilov (29-4-1, 10 KOs) in the fifth round on Saturday to cease the IBF junior bantamweight championship. The bout was televised on Showtime at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington.

Showtime heavily marketed Darchinyan on their media communications outlets heavily. It was as though Darchinyan already had the victory in the bag. Unsurprisingly, however, Darchinyan easily dominated Kirilov.

“I promised to Showtime its going to be exciting fight,” Darchinyan said afterwards. “It’s going to be a knockout.”

It didn’t matter if Kirilov was the champion making his second title defense. Kirilov, not recognized for power, relies heavily on his boxing skills. However, Kirilov has struggled in recent fights. To beat Darchinyan, Kirilov had to box and move perhaps the best that he’s ever boxed in his career.

Once Darchinyan began landing his booming left hand repeatedly Kirilov, it was only a matter of time. Kirilov simply couldn’t adjust to Darchinyan’s southpaw style. Darchinyan moved in and out very easily and landed his hard left whenever he wanted.

Darchinyan quickly closed the show once he left his hands go in round five. Kirilov tasted the canvas twice, as the bout was stopped at the 1:05 mark.

Darchinyan vs. Gorres II?

Darchinyan was starched by a single punch by Nonito Donaire (TKO 5) last year July. In his second fight since the loss to Donaire, Darchinyan fought Z Gorres to a 12-round draw in February. It appears as though Darchinyan is headed toward a rematch with Gorres. Gorres is the highest ranked IBF contender at No. 3.

DBE’s Broadway Boxing Returns

Boxing promoter Lou DiBella and his DiBella Entertainment will stage a special “Hot Fights. Summer in the City” boxing event this Wednesday at B.B. King’s Blues Club in Times Square.

Three amateur boxing standouts will make their professional fight debuts. U.S. National Champion, four-time New York Golden Gloves Champion, and Queens College student Will Rosinsky will be featured in a four-round heavyweight bout.

“I have had my eye on Will for several years and know he has the talents and mindset to be the real deal,” DiBella said. “He is an accomplished amateur and someone that will move up the ladder in this sport very quickly.”

Also, former two-time New York Golden Gloves Champion Phillip Jackson-Benson will compete in a middleweight fight.

“Philip is a talent making his debut in a tradition-rich division,” said DiBella. “He is a great kid and a fellow Brooklynite. He has the right tools to become a major player in the fight game.”

Plus, lightweight Ryan Kielczweski will be on the card.

“We have dubbed Ryan ‘The Polish Prince’,” DiBella added. “I know he’ll have his fans from Lowell as well as the large New York Polish community cheering him on at Broadway Boxing.”

Andre Berto to meet fans/press

Unbeaten WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto (22-0, 19 KOs) will be in attendance at the “Hot Fights. Summer in the City” fight card at BB Kings in Times Square.

“I want to reach out to my New York fan base and let them know what is going on,” said Berto. “I am looking forward to August 6 to see the great New York boxing fans at my promoter DiBella Entertainment’s Broadway Boxing show.”

Berto is rumored to make the first defense of his WBC belt this fall against Steve Forbes.

John Ruiz plans 7-foot-3, 325-pound Giant slay

John Ruiz (43-7-1, 29 KOs) will battle Nikolai Valuev (48-1, 34 KOs) in what should be a fierce rematch between two former WBA heavyweight champions. The two will meet for the vacant WBA title after unbeaten Ruslan Chagaev ruptured his Achilles tendon in preparation for Valuev.

Valuev-Ruiz II went into a purse bid which was won by Sauerland Event. Ruiz and Valuev will spilt a $2,006,500 purse — 50/50. The winner will be obligated to fight Chagaev by June 26, 2009.

Ruiz, the only Latino to win a heavyweight championship, lost his title to Valuev in December 2005. It was a very close fight. It appeared as though Ruiz may have outhustled Valuev, but came up short on the judges’ scorecards: 116-114, 116-114 (Valuev), and 114-114 even.

“It seemed like I went over there the first time as the opponent instead of the 2-time champion,” Ruiz noted. “I beat Valuev to the punch all night. There’s no way he won a decision. I just have to do the same thing only this time make a statement each round, not let there be any close rounds. I outworked him the last time and will do that again.”

Ruiz has fought his way back into contention by winning his last two fights. In March, Ruiz won a 12-round decision against Jameel McCline in a WBA elimination bout.

Malignaggi vs. Hatton in Las Vegas

The highly publicized fight between Paulie Malignaggi (25-1, 5 KOs) and Ricky Hatton (44-1, 31 KOs) will finally come into fruition on Saturday, November 22, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV. Malignaggi’s IBF junior welterweight championship will be on the line in what should be an all-action fight.

“I am looking forward to returning to America, fighting again at the MGM Grand and challenging Malignaggi for his title,” said Hatton. “Las Vegas is like a second home to me. The fans treat me like gold and I promise them another exciting value for money fight.”

Tickets for the event go on sale on Friday, August 8, the price range- $1,000 to $350 a seat. HBO will also televise.

In May, Hatton and Malignaggi both split a championship boxing doubleheader from Manchester Stadium in the United Kingdom. Hatton, in his first bout since his suffering his first loss to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (KO by 10) in December 2007, won a 12-round unanimous decision over Juan Lazcano in the main event.

Malignaggi was greeted with boos and in the co-feature. Malignaggi’s annoying hair braids became the focal point of attention rather than his rematch with Lovermore N’dou. It was N’dou whom Malignaggi dominated to win the IBF 140-pound title by unanimous decision. In the second fight, Malignaggi held on to win by spilt decision.

To make things worse, Malignaggi broke a bone in his surgically repaired right hand. Malignaggi will be at 100% and ready for Hatton.

“I am thrilled to be involved in the biggest 140 pound fight of ’08,” Malignaggi said. “This will be my first fight in Las Vegas, which makes it all the more exciting. Las Vegas’ nickname is the “City of Lights”, so it is only fitting that on November 22, 2008 “The Magic Man” will be lighting “The Hitman” up all over the MGM Grand Garden Arena.”