Oscar Valdez was a solid underdog against Miguel Berchelt in their WBC junior lightweight title fight in Las Vegas.
The fight was anticipated, but most preferred Berchelt for one reason- despite Valdez's undefeated record and former WBO featherweight title reign, Valdez hadn't looked like the same fighter since breaking his jaw in a victory over Scott Quigg.
All of which meant that Valdez would give the performance of his career, knock Berchelt into the ropes to score a knockdown in the fourth round, and sent him to the canvas in the ninth as Berchelt had been starting a rally by winning the recent three rounds on my card.
As Berchelt's corner sent the champion out for the tenth round with the knowledge that he had to take Valdez out to retain the title, Berchelt aggressively stalked Valdez to try for the only chance that he had to win for most of the round and in the waning seconds, ran into a Valdez left hook that dropped him face down on the mat and the conclusion of the fight.
I had Valdez well ahead at 87-82 (6-3 with two knockdowns) at the time of the stoppage.
Valdez has several options, the biggest would seem to be against Shakur Stevenson for Top Rank, although that wouldn't unify any titles, the winner would have a clear claim as the best junior lightweight in the world, although WBA champion Gervonta Davis would have a claim for that position as well.
Berchelt has now been knocked out in both of his two defeats and I would guess that he will be moving to lightweight, although with far less hoopla than had he defeated Valdez and with renewed questions about how his chin will hold up against the bigger men.
In the co-feature, undefeated junior lightweight Gabe Flores looked spectacular in his first test against veteran Jayson Velez as Flores dropped Velez twice in the sixth round and forced the referee to stop the fight after the second knockdown.
I had Flores ahead 50-45 after five rounds.
Flores had not scored a stoppage in his last six fights and the stoppage of his best opponent to date shows that Flores has some punching power.
As for the once-sturdy Velez, who had never been stopped before his previous fight in the final round against Oscar Valdez, it may be time for the former title challenger to consider calling it a career.
Earlier in the day from London, and DAZN/Matchroom, veteran David Avanesyan pulled a mild upset over undefeated former Olympian Josh Kelly with a sixth-round knockout.
Kelly started fast and hurt Avanesyan in the second round, but by the end of the round, Avanesyan had turned the fight by opening a ghastly cut on the left side of Kelly's face (it was hard to tell where the exact cut was as the blood was all over the place) and began to take control.
In the sixth, Avanesyan's punches bent Kelly forward with Kelly's gloves touching the floor for a knockdown and just as Kelly hit the floor for a second time, Kelly's corner tossed in the towel.
I had Kelly slightly ahead (48-47) after five rounds, but it was clear that Avanesyan was breaking Kelly down.
For Kelly, it was his second disappointment in three fights in attempts to defeat better fighters after a draw with Ray Robinson on the undercard of Joshua-Ruiz I.
While it's back to the drawing board for Kelly, Avanesyan may have earned himself a title try after the biggest win of his career since sending Shane Mosley into retirement in 2016.
I would think with Top Rank and Terence Crawford always looking for opponents that Avanesyan would make sense as Crawford's next foil since Errol Spence seems to be disinterested in the fight that everyone wants to see.
And from the PBC compound in Connecticut, the latest waste of time in the Adrian Broner roadshow continued on Showtime as Broner escaped with a unanimous decision over undefeated and unknown Jovanie Santiago that was arguable at best and ridiculous (the scorecards with Broner winning by three, five, and seven points) at worst.
I had Santiago winning 114-113 after Santiago lost a point following the fourth round for punching Broner after the bell, and I don't have a problem with Broner winning by a point or so, but despite Broner winning many of the later rounds and his punches landed cleaner, Santiago out-landed Broner for the fight and threw many more as well.
After the fight, Broner dropped several F-Bombs at several people including veteran scribe Steve Farhood, who had Santiago winning, and the "haters" on Twitter, talked about his sex life, and generally made everyone that wasn't watching from an adult bookstore's skin crawl.
I don't know what you do with Broner at this point.
His skills have deteriorated that he is struggling to win against a fighter that is unknown and likely not in anyone's top thirty before the fight, he claimed after the fight that he still intends to make 140 pounds (I don't see how), even if he does the best in the division fight for Top Rank, and even if a fight could be made with the winner of Josh Taylor-Jose Ramirez with the reach of Broner making the weight, is there anyone that believes that Broner is competitive with those two?
I'm starting to feel for Showtime, who is my pick for the best overall production in the game with the total event broadcast, as they look like they are stuck with whatever Broner does next complete with trashing their long-time employees (Broner made a similar rant on Al Bernstein in the past) and their network.
Showtime deserves better than Adrien Broner.
The co-feature saw heavyweight Otto Wallin dominate Dominic Breazeale over twelve rounds and cruise to an easy unanimous decision.
My scorecard agreed with the widest scorecard of the officials at 118-110 (10-2) and it was far from exciting as Wallin outboxed Breazeale and partially closed his left eye.
Wallin may not be a top contender quite yet, but he is a solid back half of the top ten level contender and again I don't know what I do with him if I am PBC.
Wallin isn't going to wow anyone with action, but he has skills and I would hesitate to put the promotion's top two heavyweights (Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz) against him because Wallin just may beat either one.
Former IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter controlled Ryan Martin to win a unanimous decision by six, eight, and eight points in a junior welterweight opener.
Easter snapped the jab out, Martin couldn't miss it and that's about the way every round played out.
Easter is another less than thrilling, but effective fighter that doesn't seem to have a PBC opponent that could make an interesting fight against him.
Adrien Broner trains with Easter and that might be twelve rounds of Easter landing jab after jab off Broner's head and the top PBC fighter in the division- former WBA champion Regis Prograis, who lost to Josh Taylor via close decision, is likely too strong for Easter.
Anything beats Easter-Rances Barthelemy II though!
Damn, I wish some of these promoters could work together once in a while.
In the boxing challenge, Ramon Malpica outscored me, seven to six on the weekend, and cut my lead to one point overall at 16-15.