Mares, Charlo do not disappoint on Showtime card

Tonight was one of those nights for boxing fans where you either have to pick one card to watch and set the other to record, or channel surf between HBO and Showtime.
Showtime’s card looked a lot closer on paper to me than HBO’s offering, so I chose to watch that live and follow up with the recorded HBO fights in the coming days. I’ll suffice it to say that Showtime’s card did not disappoint.
Jermall Charlo vs. Julian Williams was a fight I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Two up-and-comers in the same weight class were naturally headed for a collision course. This looked to be as evenly matched as you can get a fight in this division.

But Houston’s Charlo proved that he is no long an up-and-comer and that he has officially arrived with his stoppage of Williams. Charlo dominated the fight and Williams just couldn’t do enough to make it a fight.The most impressive part of Charlo’s first knockdown in the fifth and final round, a savage uppercut, was that he decided he would take whatever Williams was throwing at him so he could really sit down on that counter and fire it off with bad intentions.

Williams took a few powerful swings, Charlo didn’t panic and try to get out of there, and instead had the will to stand in there and counter with one of his own, which he fired off with forceful torque and pressure, absolutely stunning Williams. There really wasn’t much left in Williams after that, and he looked as if a brisk breeze would’ve knocked him over, but Charlo obliged instead, picking up the statement knockout win and followed by calling out Canelo Alvarez.

Charlo has said all along that Williams was not on his level, and he put his money where his mouth was. The junior middleweight division is looking mighty interesting now, and Jermall has plans on unifying the division which also has his twin brother, Jermell, as champion.

But for now, Jermall Charlo has his sights set on Alvarez, and you can’t help but think about what kind of fight that would be.

Mares a champ again

Tonight’s championship matchup for Abner Mares against Jesus Cuellar signaled a crossroads – lose and kiss top billing in the division and championship opportunities goodbye. A win would mark a return to the top.

After 12 rounds with Cuellar, it’s clear that Mares is back in the right direction, as a champion yet again. This was Mares’ first fight with trainer Robert Garcia, who previously trained Cuellar. Whether it’s the coaching change or something else, one thing is clear, this is the version of Abner Mares most people have been waiting for.

Mares often called himself a boxer-puncher, but allowed himself to get trapped in wars where his Olympic acumen flew out the window as he opted to trade blows. It’s what caused him to play straight into Jhonny Gonzales’ knockout trap, and it’s what made him try to trade with a high-output fighter like Leo Santa Cruz.

Garcia and Mares had a plan for the hard-punching Cuellar, and Mares executed it to perfection over 12 rounds. Mares proved he could take Cuellar’s leather early, but almost as soon as the bell rang for the first round, Mares seemed to be throwing the heavier shots.

Like a well-crafted chess plan, Mares used his boxing ability and defended well, making Cuellar miss while peppering him with counters. Towards the middle of the fight, Garcia told Mares to look for the right more, and he was able to find a home for the straight right as he initiated the action.

Mares was also abe to capitalize on the slower feet of Cuellar, and the inability of Cuellar to adjust to Mares’ game plan. Mares stepped back masterfully to avoid shots, and came back with counters that made their mark. While several of the rounds were close, Mares was far more effective and accurate.

Mares finally got Cuellar to bend at his will in the 11th round by firing off a right hook at the chin of the off-balance Cuellar, who was avoiding a feint of Mares’ dangerous left. After Cuellar got back up, Mares went straight after the Argentine to no avail.

Mares closed out the fight in the 12th, not getting careless and choosing his openings. He began raising his hands towards the end of the round, and he’d have them raised yet again as the winner by split decision.

Mares is now likely in line to take on the winner of the Leo Santa Cruz-Carl Frampton rematch next month. If that doesn’t pan out, Gary Russell Jr. or Lee Selby could be on the horizon. A fight with fellow Mexican Oscar Valdez could also be quite the draw, but that’s not as likely considering Valdez is a Top Rank Fighter.



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