Martinez-Chavez may have went down this past Saturday night, but it wasn't the only notable fight of the evening. Not only that, it wasn't even the only one in Las Vegas, as Showtime hosted a counter-card in the very same city as HBO's PPV telecast! Luckily for boxing fans, that meant that there were two venues featuring outstanding bouts, as Showtime's event did not disappoint…
Marcos Maidana (T)KO8 Jesus Soto-Karass
Maidana has not looked very good in his most recent fights (and that's putting it lightly). He seemed to regress dramatically after coming from behind to stop Victor Ortiz in 2009 and following his incredible 2010 battle with Amir Khan, in spite of the loss. He defeated Erik Morales by highly-contested majority decision in 2011 and got washed out by Devon Alexander earlier this year. The once-deceptively slick, hard-nosed pugilist looked quite primitive in a year's time and seemed far from turning things around. However, the Maidana of last Sat. night looked like a better, more improved Maidana of old, now showing more upper-body movement and sharper skills.
Victory did not come easy versus fellow tough guy Jesus Soto-Karass, though, as the two engaged in one of the best--and chippiest--fights of the year, filled with non-stop action, ever-swaying momentum and a healthy dose of animosity and fouls. Maidana had the edge, and despite the rather premature stoppage (Soto-Karass should have been given more of a chance to fight out of the barrage), he certainly deserved the win. I seriously doubted that he would ever break through his stubbornness and make the crucial changes (i.e. change trainers, improving skills), but he did and appears to be all the better for it.
Saul Alvarez (T)KO5 Josesito Lopez
Following his heralded surprise stoppage of Victor Ortiz a few months ago (hey, that name again…), Lopez took his chance at facing boxing's latest fly boy, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. The gap in skill and ability was easily apparent even before anything took place, as the Mexican star woefully outgunned, overpowered, and out-paced Lopez with brutal efficiency. Despite never having a real chance, Lopez still fought Canelo as if they were on equal levels and did not shy away from the big stage (*cough*likeOrtiz*cough). He was finally knocked out in the 5th, but his fighting spirit certainly won him more fans--plus a few more televised bouts, which means more money. As for Canelo, he has looked better the last couple of fights, but as he remains to have been challenged by solid or formidable competition, I'm still not all that sold on the sport's Flavor-of-the-Month (and no Mayweather fight. Not even close to his level (a la Ortiz's farcical shot at him)).
Daniel Ponce de Leon TD8 Jhonny Gonzales
Did not get a chance to see a whole lot of his fight, due to the IndyCar Championship race being on at the same time, but I didn't missing much with De Leon's solid, though dull, technical decision victory over Gonzales. Thought it would have been more exciting, but it wasn't bad, either. Gonzales' cut caused by a clash of heads didn't look terrible, either, but De Leon simply did more than he did.