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Notebook: After horrendous decision, rematch is ordered between Maestre, Fox
Matchroom signs Galahad; Easter trouble; Aleem-Roman set
When the scorecards were read on Saturday night, Gabriel Maestre’s body language was not that of a winner. He seemed to know he had lost to late substitute opponent Mykal Fox, so when ring announcer Jimmy Lennon announced Maestre had won he seemed as surprised as anyone.
Fox was in disbelief. The Fox broadcast team of Brian Kenny, Joe Goossen and Lennox Lewis were also stunned and railed against the decision.
Boxing Twitter was in meltdown mode over what has been decried as one of the worst decisions in years, maybe decades.
Maestre (4-0, 3 KOs), 34, a Venezuela native, had claimed the vacant interim WBA welterweight title — why he even qualified to fight for the unnecessary belt in the first place is a conversation for another day — in the Premier Boxing Champions co-feature in Minneapolis, but said afterward that Fox deserved a rematch.
Fox promoter Marshall Kauffman requested an immediate rematch and on Tuesday the WBA ordered one, even though the sanctioning body had the audacity to put in its announcement that the fight “was close” when in reality it was not close at all.
“The WBA reviewed the fight round by round as per rule C.26 and determined that it was close enough to order a second bout between the two,” the WBA wrote in its order.
That rule requires the protesting fighter to pay a $10,000 fee to the WBA within 10 days of the fight for consideration.
Judge Gloria Martinez had it 117-110, a scorecard that will go down in the pantheon of all-time bad ones. She was soon after the fight discovered to have made multiple racist posts toward Blacks on to her now-deleted Twitter account; Fox is Black. Judge John Mariano had it 115-112 and David Sing had it 114-113.
Most everybody else watching and opining had Fox (22-3, 5 KOs), 25, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, who scored a second-round knockdown, winning by a landslide. Marcos Villegas, the Fox Sports unofficial scorer, had Fox winning 11 of the 12 rounds.
“I was stunned by the decision,” Fox said right after the bout. “There's no way he won more rounds than me. I knocked him down. I hurt him. I don't know what else I was supposed to do. I don't know what the judges were looking at.”
The camps have 30 days to finalize the terms of the rematch. If they don’t a purse bid will be ordered.
Galahad signs with Matchroom
Coming off his one-sided world title victory, newly crowned IBF featherweight titlist Kid Galahad has signed a multi-fight promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing, promoter Eddie Hearn announced.
“We’ve been working closely with Kid for some years now but it’s great to make it official and sign a multi-fight deal at this exciting stage of his career,” Hearn said. “His performance on Saturday was faultless and stands him as one of the seven British world champions in boxing right now. I’m looking forward to the future and seeing him in some big unification fights.”
Galahad (28-1, 17 KOs), 31, of England, rolled to a one-sided 11th-round knockout of James “Jazza” Dickens to claim the vacant 126-pound belt in the main event of Matchroom Boxing’s “Fight Camp” card on DAZN in Brentwood, England. Galahad also knocked out countryman Dickens (30-4, 11 KOs), 30, a friend and sparring partner, in the 10th round of a 2013 vacant British junior featherweight title bout.
“DAZN and Eddie have a new star on their hands,” Galahad said. “I told you all before this bout, ‘I am ‘Fight Camp,’ and I believe my performance on Saturday night showed that. Now I look forward to showcasing my skills back in the arenas in front of the crowds.
“Boxing is at its best with the boxing fans in attendance, and featherweight boxing is at its best when Kid Galahad is in the ring, under them bright lights, shining and closing the show in style. From the ring walk to the ring craft, I’m the best in the division and I’m ready to put on a proper show with Matchroom and DAZN.”
Hearn said after Saturday’s win that he hoped to have Galahad in a homecoming fight in Sheffield in the fall followed by a unification fight.
Easter charged with assault
Former lightweight world titlist Robert Easter Jr. has been charged with misdemeanor assault after allegedly punching a woman on the left side of her face once with a closed fist, causing her to lose consciousness, according to a report by WTVG, the ABC affiliate in Easter’s hometown of Toledo, Ohio.
He pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault on Monday, was released on his own recognizance and ordered to have no contact with the victim.
According to the television station, the incident happened at about 3:38 a.m. on Aug. 7 at a strip club. Easter allegedly struck 28-year-old Selina Terry, who worked at the club. The responding officer said she had a split lip and a chipped tooth according to court records, the station reported. She was taken to the hospital.
Easter (23-1-1, 14 KOs), 30, is coming off a 12-round decision win over Ryan Martin on Feb. 20.
Aleem-Roman on Showtime
Interim junior featherweight titlist Ra’eese Aleem (18-0, 12 KOs) 31, of Las Vegas, will make his first defense against former unified titleholder Daniel Roman (29-3-1, 10 KOs), 31, of Los Angeles, on Sept. 11 on Showtime, a source with knowledge of the plans told Fight Freaks Unite.
The card is headlined by the previously announced junior featherweight title unification bout between Stephen Fulton and Brandon Figueroa. The site of the card has not been determined.
In his most impressive performance against his most notable opponent, Aleem looked very good in his last fight when he dropped Vic Pasillas four times en route to an 11th-round knockout to claim a vacant interim belt on Jan. 23 on Showtime.
Roman lost his unified belts to Murodjon Akhmadaliev by split decision in January 2020 and has won two fights in a row since, most recently a 10-round unanimous decision over Ricardo Espinoza in an action-packed match on May 15 on Showtime.
IBF rules on Lopez-Kambosos
The IBF, which has been trying to work through issues surrounding the postponed fight between unified lightweight world champion Teofimo Lopez and IBF mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr., has issued its ruling, which gave Lopez a win on a key point he wanted related to where the fight would take place.
The sanctioning body ruled, among other things, that the fight must take place on or before October 17, 2021 and “in a location and venue that does not require quarantine.”
After the fight was postponed from June 19 because Lopez came down with Covid-19, Triller Fight Club, which had won the promotional rights at a purse bid, planned to move the fight to Kambosos’ home country of Australia, where Lopez and his team would have had to quarantine for 14 days. They refused to do that and threatened to pull out of the fight.
I obtained a copy of the ruling and spoke to Lopez’s manager, David McWater, about what’s next. Please read my story on World Boxing News here: https://www.worldboxingnews.net/2021/08/09/ibf-teofimo-lopez-kambosos-ruling/amp
The indelible Chavez-Taylor I
The new print issue of The Ring magazine is a wonderful tribute to the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez, covering all facets of his Hall of Fame career and featuring a terrific interview with the Mexican superstar.
No issue on Chavez would be complete without an in-depth look back at the most iconic victory of his career and one of the most famous fights in boxing history.
That is Chavez’s epic junior welterweight title unification bout against Meldrick Taylor in the 1990 fight of the year and 1990s fight of the decade that referee Richard Steele waved off with two seconds left for the most controversial stoppage in boxing history, and also one of the greatest comebacks ever.
I spoke to people who were there and involved in the bout for the piece I wrote for the issue. While the print issue is still a few days away from hitting newsstands and mailboxes, the digital version is out. You can read my piece here: https://www.ringtv.com/article/two-seconds/
Charr sues King, Epic Sports
Heavyweight Mahmoud Charr sued promoters Don King and Epic Sports on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida for breach of contract, tortious interference and civil conspiracy in a case related to his canceled WBA “regular” title fight with Trevor Bryant, according to the lawsuit, a copy of which was obtained by Fight Freaks Unite.
Charr is seeking more than $4 million in damages related to the ultimate cancelation of his secondary title defense against interim titlist Trevor Bryan that was scheduled for Jan. 30 in Hollywood, Florida, but did not happen. Charr, who is Syrian and based in Germany, alleges that King failed to secure the needed visa to come to the United States for the bout, which led to his being stripped of the belt and Bryan eventually short notice opponent and former titlist Bermane Stiverne in the 11th round to claim the vacant secondary belt. Charr accuses King of conspiring with the WBA to get him stripped so Bryan could face an easier opponent for the vacant belt.
Despite initial plans for WBC interim heavyweight titlist Dillian Whyte’s next fight to take place in the United States in late August or September, that is off. Instead, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn told Fight Freaks Unite that Whyte will “next go end of October in the U.K.” Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs), 33, of England, who has boxed once previously in the U.S. in 2017, is coming off a one-sided fourth-round knockout of Alexander Povetkin on March 27 in Gibraltar to regain the interim belt and avenge a knockout loss to him in his previous bout.
D4G Promotions announced Wednesday that the vacant IBF junior lightweight title fight between Russian southpaw Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0-1, 12 KOs), 26, and Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1, 18 KOs), 33, of Japan, due to headline an ESPN+-streamed card on Aug. 20 at the Conrad Dubai in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, has been postponed. No reason was given for the postponement, but the rest of the card will go on.
There have been some changes to the Golden Boy card on DAZN on Saturday that is headlined by welterweight Vergil Ortiz Jr. versus Egidijus Kavaliauskas at the Ford Center in Frisco, Texas. Nicaragua’s Felix Alvarado (36-2, 31 KOs) was due to defend his junior flyweight title for the third time against Mexico’s Erick Lopez (16-5-1, 10 KOs) but Lopez had visa issues and was forced out of the fight, so Alvarado will instead engage in a 10-round nontitle bout against Mexico’s Israel Vazquez (10-4-2, 7 KOs). Also, a world title bout was added to the show. Strawweight titlist Wilfredo Mendez (16-1, 6 KOs), of Puerto Rico, will make his third defense against Nicaragua’s Carlos Buitrago (32-6-1, 18 KOs), who is 0-3-1 in world title bouts.
The WBO on Monday canceled the purse bid scheduled for that day for the fight between junior flyweight titlist Elwin Soto (19-1, 13 KOs), 24, of Mexico, and mandatory challenger Jonathan Gonzalez (24-3-1, 14 KOs), 30, a southpaw from Puerto Rico, because Soto promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing and Gonzalez promoter Tuto Zabala Jr. of All Star Boxing made a deal. The fight is slated to take place on Sept. 18 on a DAZN card in the United States.
Matchroom Boxing will resume putting on shows in Spain with an event slated for Sept. 11 (DAZN) at the Palau Olimpic Vall d'Hebron in Barcelona, the company announced. The card will be headlined by all-action Kerman Lejarraga (32-2, 25 KOs), a former European welterweight champion, taking on Dylan Charrat (20-0-1, 6 KOs), of France, for the vacant European junior middleweight title.
Tom Loeffler of 360 Promotions is bringing back his “Hollywood Fight Nights” series for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Loeffler, along with Roy Jones Jr. Boxing and World Cup Boxing Series will put on the show on Sept. 16 (UFC Fight Pass, 10 p.m. ET) at the Quiet Cannon Montebello Country Club in Montebello, California, right outside of Los Angeles. The bouts are to be announced.
Show and tell
Brazilian star Acelino “Popo” Freitas is my second all-time favorite fighter behind the late Arturo Gatti. I named pet cats after both of them (Popo and Thunder). Freitas was charismatic, exciting and for pure one-punch power one of the biggest hitters of the early 2000s. Having covered some of his fights and having also gotten to know him a bit, he is a very nice and humble guy. He was at his peak when he defended his unified junior lightweight world title against Jorge Barrios in Miami in a fight that was also a major nationalistic rivalry bout pitting Brazil against Argentina, Barrios’ home country.
They put on a mesmerizing battle in which Freitas badly cut Barrios, who at one point used the referee’s shirt to wipe away the blood pouring from his cuts in an unforgettable moment. Freitas got knocked down in the eighth and 11th rounds but he also dropped Barrios in the 11th and 12th rounds, securing the knockout victory at 50 seconds of the final round. It is one of the great fights of the 2000s. It took place on Aug. 9, 2003 — 18 years ago on Monday. Here is a gorgeous and scarce site poster in my collection.
Fox-Maestre photo: Sean Michael Ham/PBC; Galahad photo: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing; Easter photo: Amanda Westcott/Showtime