By Gary Kittilsen
It was March madness for boxing this past weekend, especially for the 140-pound division. Three significant fights took place in the weight class. Regis Prograis and Julius Indongo kicked off the busy weekend in a WBC title eliminator bout in Deadwood, South Dakota. Prograis was able to make quick work of Indongo. Despite losing the first two and a half minutes of the opening round, Prograis landed a vicious body shot that froze Indongo and a follow-up jab dropped him. The second round started the same way the first ended. Prograis landed a massive overhand left that sent Indongo tumbling to the canvas, who somehow got to his feet. The damage was done however and Prograis swarmed Indongo and dropped him two more times in a matter of a few seconds bringing a halt to the bout in the second round. Prograis will now be the mandatory challenger for the winner of the Jose Carlos Ramirez and Amir Iman title fight next weekend.
Two excellent world championship bouts in the Jr. welterweight division took place in San Antonio’s Freeman Coliseum. In the opening bout, Kiryl Relikh was able to exact revenge on Rances Barthelemy who won an extremely close and controversial decision in their first bout back in May of last year. Despite being at a major speed and athleticism disadvantage to the lightning-quick Barthelemy, Relikh was able to perfectly time his opponent and land power shots on the inside. His relentless pressure proved to be far too much for Barthelemy in taking a lopsided unanimous decision and capturing the WBA 140-pound title.
In the Main event, the undefeated Mikey Garcia was successful in his attempt to join Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao as the only fighters to win world titles in every weight class from Featherweight to Jr Welterweight. Garcia put on a 12 round boxing clinic in taking a clear-cut but hard-earned unanimous decision and the IBF version of the title from the rugged Sergey Lipinets. Lipinets had some excellent moments in the bout and never stopped coming forward. However, it was evident from the opening round that Lipinets was outmatched. Garcia, who improved his record to a perfect (38-0), dropped Lipinets with a counter left-hook in the seventh round and punished the champion for the majority of the 12 round battle. Garcia who was bleeding from the noise for almost the entire fight gave high praise to his opponent saying “He came in very tough and rugged… He was dangerous with the overhand right.” Garcia went on to say he wants “to unify the titles at the 135 and 140-pound divisions before moving up to 147”
The interim WBC Jr Welterweight title will be on the line at Madison Square Garden when Jose Ramirez battles Amir Iman. The fight card will also feature a bout between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Mehdi Amar for the vacant WBC Light Heavyweight interim title.
OUTSIDE THE ROPES
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez tested positive for clenbuterol while training in Guadalajara, Mexico for his mega fight with Gennady Golovkin on May 5th. Alvarez tested positive for clenbuterol on two separate tests that were administered on February 17th and 20th. The results were released earlier in the week by Canelo’s promotional company. Alvarez claims that the positive test is a result of consuming tainted meat. The May 5th fight is still scheduled to take place and has not been postponed or canceled. Canelo will have to submit to continued random testing.