By Francisco Salazar
Robert Guerrero and Yoshihiro Kamegui fought inside a ring at the Stubhub Center in Carson, CA. Based on the action for 12 rounds, the bout could have been held in a bar, a parking lot, or in a backyard and it still would have produced the same fisticuff fireworks.
Back and forth they went, giving the 5,711 boxing fans in attendance and million more watching on television something to enjoy.
But the outcome was never in doubt, despite Guerrero having to deal with an eye that was shut and a cut as well.
Guerrero won a 12 round unanimous decision over Kamegai, a win where Guerrero may or may not have answered his detractors.
Guerrero had not fought since May of last year, when he lost a one-sided unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas, NV. Part of the layoff could be attributed to the lawsuit against Golden Boy Promotions, his promoter. He had sued Golden Boy Promotions to get out of his contract, but was unsuccessful.
Kamegai had won his two previous fights after losing a 10 round unanimous decision to Johan Perez in June of last year.
From the opening bell, it was obvious this fight was not going to be a tune-up or a showcase fight for Guerrero. Kamegai came to fight and pressed the action in the first couple of rounds. Guerrero landed the telling blows from the beginning, but ate one punch after landing two or three of his own.
Just when it seemed as though Guerrero would land a series of blows to the head and body, Kamegai would land a hard enough punch to head or body that kept Guerrero honest.
Guerrero developed a nasty cut above his left eye courtesy of an uppercut from Kamegai in the sixth round. On top of that, the area around the cut swelled, almost closing the eye shut, which made it difficult for Guerrero to see.
"I couldn't see those overhand rights from him (Kamegai), but I was able to see those straight rights," said Guerrero afterwards. "I could feel he was slowing don from some of the body punches I was landing."
Kamegai did slow down and it looked by the ninth and 10th rounds, any sustainable attack by Guerrero could produce a knockdown. Much to a lot of people's surprise, Kamegai rallied in the 11th round, landing a series of punched onto Guerrero.
Both fighters traded valiantly in the final round. Kamegai went all in, hoping to hurt or knockdown Guerrero. It was not enough as Guerrero was able to make it out of the round and win a well-deserved decision.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Guerrero, 117-111, 117-111, and 116-112.
"I'm not going to worry about what's next," said Guerrero, when asked about his next move. "I'm going to relax and watch tape of this fight."
Guerrero, from Gilroy, CA, goes to 32-2-1, 18 KOs. Kamegai, from Tokyo, Japan, drops to 24-2-1, 21 KOs.
Lomachenko bests Russell
In an intriguing bout featuring young featherweight contenders, Vasyl Lomachenko won a 12 round majority decision over Gary Russell. With the victory, Lomachenko won a world title belt.
A two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Lomachenko was coming off a 12 round split decision loss to Orlando Salido on March 1. Despite Lomachenko only having two professional fights, this was Russell's first significant step up in competition.
In a tactical battle between southpaws, it was Lomachenko that landed the more telling blows in the first three rounds. He would beat Russell to the punch during most of the exchanges and landed the harder shots to the body as well.
Russell was able to find success in the fourth round, getting close enough to land a few combinations to the head of Lomachenko. Swinging momentum back to his favor in the fifth round, Lomachenko stunned Russell with an overhand left to the head.
During these middle rounds, any rally Russell mounted would be wiped out as Lomachenko would land hard hooks to the head and body. A series of those punches stunned Russell in the last few moments of the seventh round.
Lomachenko was at his best in the second half of the fight when he was aggressive and pressed the action. He would land at will, particularly when he stop Russell's progress with hard punches to the body. When he was not as aggressive, Russell would initiate and land punches.
As Lomachenko had accumulated enough points, he almost closed the show in the 12th round. He hurt Russell with a right uppercut with about 30 seconds left in the round, but was unable to drop Russell.
While much of the attention should have been spent on the one-sided numbers Lomachenko landed on Russell, according to CompuBox (183 to 83), the attention was on judge Lisa Giampa and the 114-114 score she tallied.
However, the other two judges (Max DeLuca and Pat Russell) correctly scored the bout in favor of Lomachenko, 116-112.
Lomachenko, from Bilhorod, Ukraine, improves to 2-1, 1 KO. Russell, from Capital Heights, MD, falls to 24-1, 14 KOs.
Alexander decisions Soto-Karass
Welterweight contender Devon Alexander won a hard-fought 10 round unanimous decision over Jesus Soto-Karass.
Both fighters were coming off of losses in their previous bouts. Alexander lost his world title belt with a unanimous decision loss to Shawn Porter on December 7. Soto-Karass was stopped in the ninth round by Keith Thurman on December 14.
Soto-Karass stalked Alexander around the ring in hopes of getting on the inside of Alexander's guard. He would land an occasional right cross, but Alexander countered with left and rights to Soto-Karass' head.
Soto-Karass switched to a southpaw stance in the third round, finding success by landing thudding shots to Alexander's body. Undaunted, Alexander countered well to the head and body. As the bout progressed into the middle rounds and beyond, Alexander was willing to trade with Soto-Karass and was able to win a lot of the exchanges.
From the midway point of the fight, Soto-Karass pressure began to cut the distance shorter with Alexander. He was able to land more to the body, but paid for it with counters from Alexander.
With each passing round, Alexander's punch output kept decreasing. Sensing this, Soto-Karass kept walking Alexander down, throwing and landing more punches with regularity, especially to the head.
But Alexander was able to swing momentum in his favor in the last two to three rounds, working behind a jab and landing repeatedly with straight left hands to Soto-Karass' head. Soto-Karass launched one more rally in the 10th round, but Alexander again was able to score when he needed to to secure the win.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Alexander, 99-91, 99-91, and 97-93.
Alexander, from Saint Louis, MO, goes to 26-2, 14 KOs. Soto-Karass, from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, drops to 28-10-3, 18 KOs.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He could be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing
Tags: Devon Alexander , Robert Guerrero , Jesus Soto Karass , Gary Russell Jr. , Yoshihiro Kamegai , Vasyl Lomachenko , Lomachenko-Russell , Lomachenko vs. Russell , Alexander-Soto-Karass , Alexander vs. Soto-Karass , Guerrero-Kamegai , Guerrero vs. Kamegai