Fight night in Houston

Munguia retains WBO belt with win over Inoue

Jamie Munguia lands a left hook against Takeshi Inoue. Photo courtesy of Tom Hogan-hoganphotos and Golden Boy Promotions

Junior middleweight titlist Jaime Munguia earned a tough fought victory, defeating challenger Takeshi Inoue by unanimous decision to retain his World Boxing Organization title Saturday night at the Toyota Center. Munguia won by scores of 120-108 (x2) and 119-109. SportsMap.com scored the fight 118-110 for Munguia.

Despite the wide scores it wasn't a walk in the park for Munguia (32-0, 26 KOs). Inoue (13-1-1, 7 KOs) came out with the intent to make the fight as physical as possible, rushing Munguia and trapping him in the corner of the ring. This tactic was successful early in the fight but Munguia adjusted as the match wore on, managing to keep his distance and fire off thudding combinations that pushed back Inoue.

Munguia invested heavily in body shots, repeatedly raking Inoue was huge liver and kidney combinations through the middle rounds. Despite this Inoue never appeared to be hurt to the body. Munguia did his best work in the ninth and tenth rounds, buckling Inoue with big shots just before the bell in each. Despite the big punches, Munguia could not score a knockdown.
"It was a great fight. He was a great warrior. It was a great battle for me," Munguia said through a translator. "I was surprised by him. He did great. But I'll take the title. I got the win, and that's what matters."

Munguia, who stands taller and broader than Inoue and most other 154 pound fighters, absorbed Inoue's interior punches without appearing to be stunned by them. Munguia mentioned after the fight that his plan was to ultimately move up to middleweight.

Munguia, who is just 22, defended his WBO belt for the third time. The Tijuana native claimed the title after knocking out former champion Sadam Ali in May of last year.

Golden Boy, the title promoter for the card, announced an official attendance of 7,408. The fights streamed live on DAZN.

XU STUNS ROJAS TO TAKE FEATHERWEIGHT CROWN

In the co-feature Can Xu sprung a big upset, defeating Jesus Rojas to take his WBA "regular" featherweight title. Xu (16-2, 2 KO) won a unanimous decision, with scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112. The fight appeared to be closer than the judges scored it. SportsMap.com scored the fight 115-113 for Xu. The fight is a very early candidate for 2019 fight of the year, with both fighters firing off vicious combinations throughout the fight. Rojas (26-3-2, 19 KO) seemed to score with his heavier punchers earlier in the fight. As the match wore on Xu found more success defending and was able to beat Rojas to the punch on quick combinations. Xu, a virtual unknown out of his home country of China prior to the bout, is now in line for a major fight at 126 pounds, including the possibility of matchup with WBA "super" title holder Leo Santa Cruz.

ORTIZ BLASTS OUT VALDEZ

In the opening fight of the main telecast super-prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr. had no problem making quick work of Jesus Valdez in a fifth round knockout. Ortiz (12-0, 12 KO) spent the entire fight walking Valdez to the ropes, feeling no power from Valdez's counters. In the fourth Ortiz landed a huge right hand at the end of the round that caused Valdez to retreat and take more repeated shots to the head before the bell rang. In round five Ortiz opened a cut above Valdez's left eye. After busting the cut open further later in the round, Valdez was able to make it to the bell before the ringside doctor called a halt to the action. Following the fight Ortiz told DAZN's Chris Mannix that he felt he was ready for a title shot. Ortiz's promoter Oscar De La Hoya said he would like to make another fight for Ortiz, a Grand Prairie native, in Houston.

SportsMap Weekend Boxing Rewind

Manny proves age is just a number

Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions.

Manny Pacquaio outworked, outsmarted and outslugged Keith Thurman on Saturday night in Las Vegas to claim the WBA Welterweight Super Title and re-announce his presence to the rest of the division. Pacquiao looked like his old self, especially early in the fight, to win a clear but competitive decision over Thurman, who entered the ring ten years Pacquiao's younger. Ringside judges scored the fight 114-113 for Thurman and 115-112 (twice) for Pacquiao. SportsMap.com also scored the bout 115-112 in favor of Pacquiao.

Pacquiao, who now splits his time between boxing and senatorial duties in the Philippines, looked like vintage Manny in the early going, landing a right hook near the end of the first round that sent Thurman sprawling to the canvas. Thurman was up quickly and didn't appear to be badly hurt by the knockdown. Pacquiao continued the quick start by landing the harder, more damaging punches throughout the first half of the fight. Pacquiao routinely initiated the action by pressuring Thurman with flurries of combinations. The knockdown, paired with Pacquiao's early success gave him an advantage on the scorecards he would never relinquish.

Thurman began to feel Pacquiao out as the fight moved into the middle rounds, timing Pacquiao's volume combinations with well placed counters. While Thurman snapped Pacquiao's head back at times, he never rose beyond competitive and never seemed to take the fight back over from Pacquiao, who laid claim to it following the knockdown.

If there was any doubt the 40 year old could finish off the victory, it was removed in round ten, when Pacquiao badly hurt Thurman with a body shot. The blow left Thurman covering up to the body and leaving his head vulnerable to combinations for the remainder of the round. Thurman bounced back with a nice round 11 but the damage was done. Entering the final stanza Thurman needed a knockout. But once again it was Pacquiao who landed the heavier work.

Thurman was gracious in defeat, saying he felt the fight was close but acknowledged that he had lost. It was the first defeat in Thurman's career. He expressed interest in making a rematch.

By winning Pacquiao once again has claim to being a top-3 welterweight in the world, along with PBC stablemate Errol Spence as well as Terence Crawford. A unification bout with Spence, the IBF welterweight champion, would be easy to make. However it won't be made in the immediate future. Spence is set to fight WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter in September. Spence would be a heavy favorite over Pacquiao. Because of this fact, paired with Pacquiao's marketability, a fight between the two would likely only be made it what would be Pacquiao's last fight. After Saturday's performance Pacquiao's career doesn't appear to be anywhere close to finish, so I would expect Manny to be back in the ring in the fall against the mandatory challenger for his WBA title.

UGAS DOMINATES FIGUEROA

On the undercard Cuban national Yordenis Ugas has no trouble defeating Omar Figueroa, winning a unanimous decision by scores of 119-107 (three times.) SportsMap.com also scored the fight 119-107 for Ugas.

Ugas won every minute of every round, beating Figueroa at his own game. Figueroa, content to fight on the inside, was a step behind the quicker, more technically skilled Ugas. He was repeatedly countered with uppercuts up the middle, and never made any adjustments that led observers to believe Figueroa could solve Ugas. The fight makes Ugas the mandatory challenger for the WBC welterweight title. Ugas fought Porter for the WBC title earlier in the year and lost a controversial decision.

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