Alief native retains WBC title

Charlo scores victory in return to Houston

Photo courtesy of Showtime Sports

Jermall Charlo cruised to an easy victory Saturday night at NRG Arena in Houston, but the WBC middleweight champion could not score the knockout he was looking for. Charlo won a unanimous decision by scores of 120-108 (x2) and 119-109. SportsMap.com scored the bout 118-110 in favor of Charlo.

The Alief native looked like the bigger, stronger man from the opening bell. However Charlo (29-0, 21 KO) seemed to struggle with Adams' awkward style. Charlo consistently landed the harder, cleaner punches, but never seemed to hurt Adams (21-3, 13 KO,) who displayed an amazing chin in defeat.

The fight was a big step-up in competition for Adams, who went 12 rounds for the first time in his career. Adams looked completely overmatched at the beginning of the fight, seeming to be satisfied with merely surviving. As the fight went on Adams seemed to get more comfortable in the ring, working behind a loopy, range-finding jab to score some points despite losing most rounds.

"Of course I wanted to knock him out," Charlo said. "That's what we do. That's what we train for. I didn't get the knockout. My brother gave me and A though, so I'm happy with that."

Charlo was the main aggressor in the ring, leading Adams around and often pinning him in the corners. He was at his best when he could bully Adams into the corners and score points with body shots and uppercuts. Charlo said that he hurt his hand early in the fight, which could have been a reason for his performance.

"I've never fought with a hurt hand before. Ever. Adversity is everything," Charlo said.

After the fight Charlo talked about his desire to fight one of the big names of the middleweight division, specifically Canelo Alvarez.

"Canelo's gotta fight me sooner or later," Charlo said. "He cannot retire without fighting me."

Charlo, who is aligned with Showtime, is the only one of the four big players in the middleweight division that doesn't regularly fight on streaming service DAZN. Because of this Charlo has had difficulty getting the big fight he wants at 160 lbs.

The official attendance at NRG Arena was 6,408, announced as a sellout.


LUBIN ROLLS IN ELIMINATOR

Junior middleweight contender Erickson Lubin (21-1, 16 KO) earned a spot as the mandatory challenger for the WBC title in dismantling Zakaria Attou (29-7-2, 7 KO) via fourth a fourth round technical knockout. Lubin started the fight by feeling out Attou, who looked technically deficient compared to Lubin from the opening bell. By round two Lubin was landing flush left crosses that were pushing Attou back to the ropes.

In round four Lubin unleashed a flurry of punches that send Attou to the canvas. He beat the count and wanted to continue but his corner threw in the towel, stopping the fight. The victory means Lubin is in line to eventually face Tony Harrison for the WBC title.

MARRERO HANGS ON TO BEAT RAMIREZ

In the opening bout of the television card featherweight Claudio Marrero (24-3, 17 KO) started hot and did enough in the closing rounds to earn a unanimous decision victory over Eduardo Ramirez (22-2-3, 9 KO.) Judges scored the fight 115-113, 116-112 and 118-110, all in favor of Marrero. SportsMap.com scored the fight 115-113 for Marrero.

Marrero was the obvious aggressor early in the fight but Ramirez's grinding, inside style seemed to tire out Marrero as the fight wore on. Many rounds were close with both fighters trading many body-based combinations.



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Altuve's homer starting the scoring for Houston on Friday night. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
After a solid showing to take the three of the four-game series in Arlington against the Rangers to start the week, the Astros returned home for three against the Diamondbacks in a weekend series. They would have a slow start to the opener but would ultimately come away victorious.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 4, Diamondbacks 3

Astros' Record: 87-60, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (3-4)

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (1-1)

Bielak makes the impromptu start

With Luis Garcia having to move his start ahead by a day on Thursday instead of Friday with Framber Valdez's finger cut, Brandon Bielak made a start for Houston in the opener against Arizona. He didn't go as deep as he probably would have wanted and certainly ventured out of his comfort zone with traffic on the bases.

He loaded the bases in the top of the first, allowing a single and two walks, but was able to strand all three to keep it a scoreless game. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 second, but he dealt with a threat again in the third as back-to-back singles pressured him to start the inning. He would get back-to-back strikeouts, but that's as far as he would go as Houston moved on to Blake Taylor. Taylor got the final out of the third on one pitch, then erased a two-out double in the top of the fourth.

Altuve breaks up the no-no with a go-ahead homer

Brooks Raley took over in the top of the fifth, but in his three batters, he faced allowed a single while getting two outs before Cristian Javier took over to end the frame. Javier allowed the first run of the game in the top of the sixth, a leadoff solo homer to Kole Calhoun to put the Diamondbacks in front 1-0 before he finished the inning.

Madison Bumgarner didn't allow a single hit to the Astros through the first five and two-thirds innings. He allowed a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, which proved costly as Jose Altuve would get the first knock of the game for Houston, a two-run go-ahead homer. Phil Maton was the next reliever for the Astros in the top of the seventh, maintaining the new one-run lead by erasing a leadoff single.

Astros get the win in extras

The Diamondbacks tied it up in the top of the eighth against Kendall Graveman, getting a leadoff single followed by a walk, then later an RBI single to knot things up 2-2. Houston stranded a runner in the bottom of the eighth, then brought in Ryan Pressly, who tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to keep the game tied.

Despite getting the winning run in scoring position with a leadoff ground-rule double by Jason Castro to start the bottom of the ninth, they would strand it as the game went to extras. Arizona scored their free runner in the top of the tenth, getting a sac fly to move it to third then going in front on an RBI single.

The Astros matched that and more in the bottom of the inning, moving their runner to third on a lineout to start the frame, followed by an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. Jake Meyers tied the game with an RBI single, then after another walk to load the bases, Chas McCormick was hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run, moving the Astros closer to clinching their playoff berth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will have a start time of 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Tyler Gilbert (2-2, 3.15 ERA) is expected to make a start for Arizona, while Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.12 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston.

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