By David P. Greisman
Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas - Light heavyweight Beibut Shumenov defended his world title for the first time in a year and a half, returning to the ring with a third-round destruction of Tomas Kovacs. Shumenov scored one knockdown apiece in the first, second and third rounds.
It was actually Kovacs who landed the first significant shot of the bout, sending out a counter right hand over Shumenov’s jab. Toward the end of the round, though, Kovacs threw a right hand and essentially posed, remaining in front of Shumenov, pulling his arm back low and basically inviting the counter left hook that dropped Kovacs down hard.
Kovacs was fortunate that the knockdown came at the end of the round. That might have been the only time in which he was fortunate. In the second round, Shumenov had Kovacs in the corner and threw a left uppercut. Kovacs seemed to take it, but as he stepped forward and clinched with Shumenov, he suddenly dropped to his knees. The referee ruled it a knockdown.
Kovacs did land a couple of left hooks in the third round that went over Shumenov’s right hands. Shumenov took them and continued to walk Kovacs down, throwing out hard punches and ultimately landing the finishing blow: a right hand that took Kovacs’ legs away.
The referee waved the bout off with five seconds left in the third.
Shumenov, 30, won his World Boxing Association belt controversially in January 2010, taking a split decision in his rematch with Gabriel Campillo. He followed that with a decision win over Vyacheslav Uzelkov in July 2010, a knockout of William Joppy in January 2011, a stoppage of Danny Santiago in July 2011, and a shutout of Enrique Ornelas in June 2012.
He is now 14-1 (9 KOs). Kovacs, 36, of Slovakia, suffered his first pro loss and is now 23-1 (14 KOs).
- Lightweight prospect Jamel Herring’s development continued with an easy second-round technical knockout win over Lance Williams.
Herring scored three knockdowns in that round: the first off a combination jab and southpaw left cross, the second from body shots followed by a left hand upstairs, and the third from a single left hand. The referee waved the bout off immediately after the third knockdown.
The stoppage came with one second left in the round.
Herring competed as a junior welterweight on the 2012 American Olympic boxing team but was eliminated in the first round. Since turning pro a year ago, he’s been training with Mike Stafford, who also works with Adrien Broner. Herring, 28, originally from Long Island, N.Y., is now 6-0 with 4 KOs.
Williams, 28, of Muscatine, Iowa, is now 6-3 (6 KOs).
- Ricardo Alvarez took a majority decision over junior welterweight Rod Salka in a bout that seemed much closer than how one of the judges had it.
The scores were an even 95-95, overruled by the other judges seeing it 96-94 and 98-92.
Alvarez, who is one of Canelo Alvarez’s older brothers, is now 23-2-3 (14 KOs). He came in 0.4 pounds overweight for this bout. Salka, a 30-year-old from Pennsylvania who had former titleholder Paul Spadafora in his corner, falls to 18-3 (3 KOs).
Lightweight prospect Robert Easter made quick work of Hardy Paredes, dispatching him just 2 minutes and 30 seconds into the fight.
The end came when Easter landed a right hand to Paredes’ head, followed it with a left hook upstairs and then finished things off with a well-placed left hook to the body.
Paredes crumped to the canvas and remained there for the referee’s full count.
Easter, 22, of Cincinnati, is now 8-0 with 8 KOs. Paredes, a 30-year-old originally from Chile but now fighting out of Florida, is now 16-13 (10 KOs).
The drawn-out comeback of former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor continued with a seventh-round technical knockout of the remarkably faded J.C. Candelo.
The end came on the only knockdown of the bout. Taylor sent out a jab and followed it with a right hand, and Candelo fell backward into the ropes. Though Candelo’s wits were still about him, the referee had seen enough one-sided action and called the bout off with 52 seconds remaining in the round.
The bout had been a sparring match from the get-go, with Taylor standing in front of Canelo, comfortably able to send out jabs and combinations to the head and body with little worry about the rare return fire.
Taylor stepped away from the sport following his October 2009 knockout loss to Arthur Abraham, which was his fourth loss in five fights, the third by way of knockout. Though those defeats had come against high-quality opponents in Abraham, Carl Froch and Kelly Pavlik (twice), the Abraham knockout brought about some bleeding on Taylor’s brain.
Taylor has been medically cleared, though, with experts testifying that he is at no greater risk of suffering another brain bleed than he was prior to the Abraham loss. And so Taylor came back in December 2011, stopping Jessie Nicklow, came off the canvas in April 2012 to outpoint Caleb Truax, and then made quick work of Raul Munoz in October 2012.
Taylor came in slightly above the middleweight limit, at 162.6 pounds. He is now 32-4-1 with 20 KOs.
Candelo, at 39, is a shell of the former junior middleweight fringe contender he once was. He too was coming off an extended layoff, his last appearance before this coming in November 2012, when he was stopped by Fernando Guerrero. He is now 32-13-4 (21 KOs).
- In the show’s opener, bantamweight prospect Rau’shee Warren scored a unanimous decision over Jose Silveira.
All three judges scored the bout 80-72.
Warren, 26, of Cincinnati, is a three-time American Olympian. He improves to 17-0 with 3 KOs, including the eight bouts he had in the World Series of Boxing. Silveira, 35, of Kanasin, Mexico, falls to 15-10 (6 KOs).
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at email@example.com