A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:
Saturday at Omaha, Neb
Terence Crawford TKO10 Dierry Jean
Retains a junior welterweight title
Records: Crawford (27-0, 19 KOs); Jean (29-2, 20 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Crawford's ascent to the top of boxing has been impressive. He began 2012 as an unknown until three straight appearances on HBO put him on the map. He followed with a huge 2014 in which he won a lightweight world on the road in Scotland against Ricky Burns and made two defenses, knocking out Yuriorkis Gamboa in the ninth round of a terrific fight then shutting out Raymundo Beltran to lock up fighter of the year honors while also beginning to climb the pound-for-pound rankings.
While Crawford had a quieter 2015, mainly because he only fought twice and did not have any marquee opponents, he still put together a quality year. He moved up in weight in April and knocked out Thomas Dulorme in the sixth round to win a vacant world title and then dominated Jean in his first defense in front of a raucous hometown crowd of 11,020 the CenturyLink Center. But the fight was more than just a title defense for the 28-year-old Crawford. It was also an audition for a huge fight on April 9 against the legendary Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs), the 36-year-old Filipino icon who is planning his career finale on that date.
Crawford would be on one of the three main candidates -- along with England's Amir Khan and Timothy Bradley Jr. (as long as he beats Brandon Rios on Nov. 7) -- to get the fight thanks to his impressive showing against Jean, 33, a native of Haiti fighting out of Montreal, who was getting his second world title opportunity. In January 2014, Jean traveled to Washington, D.C., the hometown of then-junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson and gave him a good go in a decision loss. After that, he won four fights in a row before finding himself up against Crawford, whom he had called out. But Crawford proved to be too much for him. Other than landing a few nice right hands, Jean was outclassed by the bigger, slicker, stronger, more skilled Crawford, who dropped him three times in the one-sided destruction.
If Crawford's mandate from Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who also promotes Pacquiao, was to be impressive, then Crawford certainly was. He was very impressive. Crawford had Jean in trouble early when he turned southpaw in the first round and seemed to confuse him. Just before the end of the round, Crawford connected with a nice right hook to floor Jean. The night got no better for him. He cut Jean over the right eye in the fifth round.
Crawford continued to thrash Jean and dropped him for the second time with a pair of left hands just as the ninth round was coming to an end. Jean survived, but he was in trouble and shaky at the beginning of the 10th round. Crawford rocked him with a right hand and a left and Jean went down along the ropes, prompting referee Tony Weeks to immediately wave off the fight without a count at 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Crawford's dominance was reflected in the CompuBox punch statistics. He landed 169 of 533 punches (32 percent) and Jean landed only 51 of 340 (15 percent). As auditions go, Crawford aced it. Now it is only a question of whether he looked so good that Pacquiao won't want to tangle with him. If he does, by the way, Arum said that Pacquiao likely would drop down to 140 pounds to challenge Crawford for his world title rather than having Crawford move up to 147 pounds to fight Pacquiao at welterweight, where he has fought for the past several years.
Also on the card, heavyweight Andy Ruiz Jr. (26-0, 17 KOs), 26, a Mexico native fighting out of Imperial, California, battered journeyman Raphael Zumbano Love (37-12-1, 30 KOs), 34, of Brazil, to win by shutout in their eight-round bout: 80-72, 80-72 and 80-70. Former featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich (20-1-1, 9 KOs), 29, was also on the card. He fought for the first time since losing his world title to Lee Selby by one-sided eighth-round technical decision in London on May 30. Gradovich returned to face Aldimar Silva Santos (19-9, 12 KOs), 34, of Brazil, and struggled to an eight-round split decision, winning 79-71 and 78-74 on two scorecards while one judge had Silva Santos winning 77-75.
Saturday at Sheffield, England
Chris Eubank Jr. TKO2 Tony Jeter
Retains an interim middleweight title
Records: Eubank Jr. (20-1, 15 KOs); Jeter (20-5-1, 14 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: There was so much wrong with this fight, where do we even begin? How about the fact that the fight was sanctioned for an interim title and the fighters were willing to pay sanctioning fees knowing they would not be able to keep the belt if they won. It was absolutely wild. They knew that the winner would immediately be stripped of the title so it could be given to Venezuela's Alfonso Blanco, who outpointed Sergey Khomitsky on Oct. 10 for what was also deemed an interim title fight but with the provision that the winner would not be recognized as such until Eubank-Jeter was over. To make matters worse, Eubank-Jeter was as horrendous a mismatch in the ring as it was on paper. Jeter, 39, of Columbia, Maryland, is a club fighter, and the only way he should be near a title fight is by buying a ticket, yet somehow this was sanctioned as an interim title bout. And, amazingly, it was the main event of the Matchroom Boxing card, although only because original main event scheduled to be welterweight titlist Kell Brook in a defense against Diego Chaves was called off because Brook suffered a training injury.
As for the fight itself, it could not have more perfectly met the low expectations as Eubank, 26, of England, in his first fight since Feb. 28 12th-round knockout win over Dmitry Chudinov to claim the interim title and his subsequent signing with promoter Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing, destroyed Jeter in a one-sided mismatch. Eubank rocked him in the first round and later dropped Jeter with a left hook to the head with a little over a minute left. Jeter survived and did not seem to have one iota of interest in engaging with Eubank in the second round. So Eubank, the son of the former middleweight and super middleweight world titleholder, went and got him, eventually pummeling him with around 10 unanswered punches, including a pair of left hooks to the head that badly rocked him, causing referee Howard John Foster to intervene and wave off the bout 29 seconds into the round. This was a complete waste of time and money for any fan who bought a ticket.
Whether he has an interim belt or not, Eubank's next fight was already set before he crushed Jeter. He will face Ireland's Gary "Spike" O'Sullivan (22-1, 15 KOs) on the undercard of the big British heavyweight showdown between Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte on Dec. 12 at the O2 Arena in London.
Friday at Phoenix
Rob Brant W10 Louis Rose
Scores: 96-94 (twice), 95-95
Records: Brant (18-0, 11 KOs); Rose (13-3-1, 5 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Brant, 25, of St. Paul, Minnesota, was a quality amateur (including a 2010 national Golden Gloves titles) and considered by many to be a rising prospect, but the main event of the "ShoBox: The New Generation" card on Showtime proved to be a tough bout with Rose, 26, of Los Angeles, in a fight many gave Rose a good chance to win. Rose put up a very good effort, but Brant, relaying heavily on his jab, escaped with the close but deserved majority-decision victory against the best opponent of his career.
Brant, who went 10 rounds for the first time in his five-year career, started off well and put several early rounds in the bank before he had to hold off the hard-charging Rose down the stretch in a good scrap.
"I knew it was going to be a tough fight," Brant said. "Every time I thought I had him hurt, he would come back. I had to keep my composure in there and stick to the game plan. I think my jab was key. It really helped me keep the pace and set up my punches. In the second half, I slowed the pace and picked my shots to win the fight. It was a great learning experience. I need to get right back in the gym and continue to progress."
Rose gave Brant the toughest fight of his career but was disappointed with the scores.
"This is very disappointing, I really don't feel like talking," said Rose, who had beaten six undefeated fighters in a career that began in November 2011. "I thought I did enough to win. I had him backing up and hurt from the sixth round on. Obviously, I want a rematch."
Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller KO3 Akhror Muralimov
Records: Miller (15-0-1, 13 KOs); Muralimov (16-2, 13 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Miller, 27, of Brooklyn, New York, is a former kickboxer who twice lost to the legendary MMA fighter Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic before returning to boxing full time. He was fighting for the fifth time already in 2015 as he notched his fourth knockout in a row, taking out Muralimov with relative ease. They had some solid back-and-forth action in the first and second rounds before Miller scored the knockout. He forced Muralimov to the ropes and ripped him with a clean straight right hand to the head. Muralimov dropped to his knees and appeared to quit. He was taking out his mouthpiece as he listened to referee Chris Flores count him out at 1 minute, 3 seconds, and then he immediately stood up once the count was completed.
"I'm a warrior. I want knockouts. I don't want decisions," Miller said. "This was a tough guy. Anybody that can take a smash in the mouth like he did and keep coming back shows that he came to win. I am willing and ready to fight any of the top heavyweights."
Muralimov, 27, a native of Uzbekistan fighting out of Houston, came into the fight having been quite inactive. He fought only once last year, and this was only his second fight of 2015, and it became his second loss in a row, as he also dropped a 10-round decision to experienced journeyman Derric Rossy in February.
"He just beat me, what can I say. Of course this is disappointing," Muralimov said. "I was in great shape and thought I was ready."
Samuel Clarkson TKO3 Lavarn Harvell
Records: Clarkson (17-3, 11 KOs); Harvell (15-2, 8 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Clarkson, a 25-year-old southpaw from Cedar Hills, Texas, opened a lot of eyes in July in his previous appearance on Showtime's "ShoBox: The New Generation" when he knocked out hot prospect Jerry Odom in the third round of an upset. Two fights later and Clarkson was back on "ShoBox" causing havoc again as he put away Harvell, 27, of Atlantic City, New Jersey, with surprising ease to win his seventh fight in a row since a shutout eight-round decision loss to blue-chip prospect Jesse Hart in April 2014.
Clarkson came into the fight with a lot more experience against better opponents and made Harvell pay the price in his first scheduled eight-round fight. It did not go nearly that long as Clarkson blew him out. He dropped Harvell three times overall, including twice in the opening round. A short right hook to the chin sent Harvell to his knees with about 40 seconds left in the round. Another right hand floored him again just before the bell rang to end the round. He was unsteady when he rose, but the round ended. Clarkson went right after him as the second round began. He forced him to the ropes and unleashed a series of brutal flush punches, including two left hands and a right to the head that had him badly hurt as he crashed into the canvas. Harvell showed tremendous heart to beat the count, but he had to pull himself up using the ring ropes and was an absolute mess when he got to his feet, forcing referee Wes Melton to stop the fight 48 seconds into the round.
"I knew the knockout was coming, I just didn't know when," Clarkson said. "I think my straight left was the difference. It set up the big rights for me. We've been working on throwing straight shots instead of looping punches and it came together."
Friday at Indio, Calif.
Joseph Diaz Jr. W10 Ruben Tamayo
Scores: 100-90 (three times)
Records: Diaz Jr. (18-0, 10 KOs); Tamayo (23-7-4, 15 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Diaz, 22, a 2012 U.S. Olympian from South El Monte, California, is one of Golden Boy's best prospects and continues to move along nicely as a professional. Fight in and fight out, Diaz comes in shape and ready to give the crowd a show. He had no issues with fellow southpaw Tamayo, 26, of Mexico, who lost his third fight in a row, all against good opponents. Tamayo also dropped a decision to blue-chip prospect Oscar Valdez on June 27 and was stopped in the fifth round by Jesus Cuellar in an interim featherweight title fight in December.
Despite a four-inch height disadvantage, Diaz did as he pleased, going to the head and body with pinpoint punching as he wore Tamayo down over the course of the fight. Tamayo showed great heart to hang in there, but this was all Diaz from start to finish.
"I knew Tamayo was going to be taller and we made sure to land effective counter shots to get the victory," Diaz said. "I knew [it] was going to be tough, but I knew I was winning decisively throughout the night. When I started to land the combinations, I would make sure to come back out to prevent Tamayo from reaching me. Overall, I feel I proved I was a tough fighter and can adjust to any style."
Frankie Gomez W10 Jorge Silva
Scores: 100-90 (three times)
Records: Gomez (19-0, 13 KOs); Silva (21-10-2, 17 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Gomez was a standout amateur who signed for big bucks with Golden Boy, which seemingly has wasted its money on a talented but entirely undedicated and unprofessional fighter who has done nothing but hurt his own career despite remaining undefeated. Besides having problems outside the ring, Gomez is simply unreliable when it comes to one of a professional fighter's most basic jobs: making weight. Forget about all the issues with weight earlier in his career and let's just look at recent times. In May, he was given a possible-career making slot on HBO for a live fight sandwiched between the replay of Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao and the live Canelo Alvarez-James Kirkland bout. No fighter on the planet looking to make a name for himself could possibly ask for a better spot. So what did Gomez do? He showed up 6½ pounds overweight for a fight with Humberto Soto and the bout was canceled.
The fight with Silva was Gomez's first since then, and you'd think the young man would have learned a lesson after missing out on an HBO fight and its accompanying six-figure payday. He clearly did not. Instead, Gomez showed up three pounds over the 147-pound limit and the contract was changed. The fight went on with Gomez, 23, of East Los Angeles, winning every round against Silva, 23, of Mexico, in an entirely forgettable fight, the most notable feature of which may have been the accidental head-butt that cut both fighters in the ninth round.
Silva has lost seven of his last eight fights and eight of his last 10.