Jesus Soto Karass of Mexico earned the biggest victory of his career Saturday night when he stopped former two-time welterweight champion Andre Berto at 48 seconds of the 12th round of their main event at AT&T Center in San Antonio.
The fight was even at the time with each fighter having a two-point lead on a card with the other card even.
Berto put himself in good position by dropping Soto Karass in the 11th round with a body shot that appeared borderline low. But Soto Karass returned the favor in the 12th, smacking Berto to the ground with a left hook to the chin. Berto got up right away, but on very wobbly legs and the referee stepped in.
Berto (28-3), of Winter Haven, Fla., has now lost three of his past four. Soto Karass (28-8-3, 18 KOs) has won two consecutive bouts since being stopped in the eighth round by Marcos Maidana in September 2012.
In other action, Omar Figueroa (22-0-1) of Weslaco, Texas, won an interim lightweight belt with a unanimous decision over Nihito Arakawa (24-3-1) of Japan in a 12-round thriller.
Also, Keith “One Time” Thurman knocked out Diego Chaves of Argentina in the 10th round of their interim welterweight title fight. Thurman, of Clearwater, Fla., is 21-0 with 19 knockouts. Chaves (22-1) sustained his first loss.
Jesus Soto Karass of Los Angeles via Mexico has been a pro for 12 years, yet he has never even fought for a major world championship. A win Saturday night over former welterweight champion Andre Berto will not guarantee him a shot at a title, but it could go a ways in at least getting him some consideration in that regard.
Apparently, that’s why he’s willing to risk it all when he and Berto square off at AT&T Center in San Antonio (on Showtime).
“My only prediction is it’s going to be a war,” said Soto Karass, 30. “I’m going to leave my heart in there. If I have to die in the ring, I will.”
Soto Karass is 27-8-3 with 17 knockouts. Berto, 29, of Winter Haven, Fla., is 28-2 with 22 knockouts.
Top Rank Inc. this week announced that the media tour for the Nov. 23 showdown between Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines and Brandon Rios of Oxnard at the Venetian Resort in Macau, China (on HBO pay-per-view) will go to six cities and cover 23,722 miles.
The tour will begin in Macau on Saturday, then move to Beijing on Tuesday. From there it will go to Shanghai (Wednesday), to Singapore (Aug. 3), to New York City (Aug. 6) and finally to Los Angeles on Aug. 8.
Pacquiao, 34, is 54-5-2 with 38 knockouts. He’s coming off a sixth-round knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez this past December in Las Vegas.
Rios, 27, is 31-1-1 with 23 knockouts. He was defeated via decision by Mike Alvarado in his most recent fight in March in Las Vegas.
Heavyweight contender Tomasz Adamek was to face Tony Grano in the main event Aug. 3 at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. But Grano pulled out with a back injury and Adamek will now face former contender Dominick Guinn in the main event (on NBC Sports Network).
Houston’s Guinn, 38, is 34-9-1 with 23 knockouts. He has lost three of his past four bouts. Adamek, 36, is from Jersey City, N.J., via Poland. The former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion has a record of 48-2 with 29 knockouts. Among his victories was one over Chris Arreola in April 2010 at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.
Former world champion Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico will get back into the ring for the first time since last December when he takes on Delvin Rodriguez in the super welterweight main event Oct. 5 at Amway Center in Orlando, Fla. (on HBO).
Cotto, 32, has won titles in three weight classes. But he has lost his past two fights – against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Austin Trout – and is looking to get back into the win column and back in contention for another title.
“I am very happy to be back on Oct. 5 and fighting in front of all the great fans in Orlando,” said Cotto, who is 37-4 with 30 knockouts.
Whereas Cotto has won championships, Rodriguez (28-6-3, 16 KOs) is in search of his first.
“I’m going to go for the knockout,” said Rodriguez, of Danbury, Conn. via the Dominican Republic. “I will take advantage of the biggest opportunity of my life.”
Fighting in front of a hometown crowd, Randy Caballero of Coachella on Saturday knocked out Miguel Robles of Puerto Rico with a body shot in the seventh round of their bantamweight main event at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio. The bout was televised on Fox Sports Network.
Caballero, 22, was born in Indio. He is now 19-0 with 11 knockouts, and has stopped his past three opponents inside the distance.
Robles, 31, is 12-3-2.
John Molina’s reign as a lightweight contender was perhaps not much more than a minute away from being over. But in the 10th and final round of a fight he was losing handily to Mickey Bey on Friday at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, a left hook by Molina put Bey in la-la land. Bey did not go down, but Molina rained several more blows down on Bey, and referee Vic Drakulich stopped the bout at 2:01 of the round.
Molina’s shocking, table-turning TKO victory gives him a record of 26-3-1 with 21 knockouts. He was behind big on all three scorecards – 90-81, 89-82, 88-83.
Molina, of Covina, had lost two of his past three fights. In one of them, he was stopped in the first round in a challenge to world champion Antonio DeMarco. The general feeling in boxing circles was that Molina, at 30, could not afford another loss so soon if he was going to get another shot at a title.
It was the first loss for Bey, 30, of Cleveland. He’s now 18-1-1. In Bey’s previous fight, he knocked out Robert Rodriguez in the third round in February at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. It was changed to a no-contest when Bey tested positive for elevated testosterone levels. He was fine and suspended three months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Larry Holmes and Julio Cesar Chavez are among the fighters to be inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame at its inaugural ceremony Aug. 10 at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas. Both confirmed this week they will be attending.
Holmes, one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time, is stoked about his impending enshrinement.
“I’m honored to be inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame, and I want to express my appreciation to all those who voted for me,” said Holmes, 63. “Vegas has always been my home away from home. There’s nothing like Las Vegas.”
Holmes went 69-6 with 44 knockouts. He had victories in Las Vegas over the likes of Muhammad Ali, Michael Spinks, Gerry Cooney and Earnie Shavers.
Chavez, of Mexico, also had a lot of his big wins in Las Vegas. Included therein was his 12th-round TKO of Meldrick Taylor in 1990 that stirred great controversy when referee Richard Steele stopped the fight with two seconds left of a fight in which Taylor was ahead on points on two of the three scorecards.
“… I am humbled by it,” Chavez said of his induction. “I would also like to say thank you to the guys that I faced over my career. I appreciate all of you. I enjoyed the competition and it was an honor to face you.”
Chavez finished 107-6-2 with 86 knockouts and won world titles in three weight classes.
Both Holmes and Chavez have already been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
John Molina of Covina began his career 25-1. But he’s lost two of his past three fights, meaning he really needs a victory Friday night against Mickey Bey if he is to remain a contender for a lightweight world title. Molina and Bey, of Cleveland, will square off in the main event at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas (on Showtime). Their fight figures to start around 9 p.m.
Molina (25-3, 20 KOs), a Charter Oak High graduate, challenged Antonio DeMarco for his lightweight title this past September in Oakland. Molina was stopped in the first round. Molina rebounded with a fourth-round knockout of Dannie Williams, but on June 7 he was out-boxed by Andrey Klimov of Russia, Klimov winning a majority decision.
Molina is still just 30, but another loss could make it difficult for him to get another title shot. He seems to know he needs a victory over Bey (18-0-1, 9 KOs).
“Perception-wise, this is a very important fight for me and it’s certainly in my best interests to get a victory,” Molina said. “I know what’s ahead of me with a win. A win puts me right back in the thick of things. Mickey Bey is a hell of a fighter and a hell of a boxer. Our styles will make for an explosive fight.”
Molina has changed trainers many times during his career. Recently, he went back to Joe Goossen after having been with Robert Garcia.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s junior middleweight title fight with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on Sept. 14 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on Showtime pay-per-view) was already going to be a huge event.
It got even bigger Thursday when Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, and Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, announced that a super lightweight title fight between champion Danny Garcia of Philadelphia and Lucas Matthysse of Argentina has been added as the main support bout.
Since Garcia-Matthysse is a fight that could have stood on its own as a main event on a different night, this appears to be a terrific move by the two promoters.
“We did not have to add this fight,” Schaefer said. “Tickets are already sold out, records are being broken. And yet we added this fight to this amazing night of boxing. We believe consumers deserve these kinds of cards.”
Matthysse, 30, is 34-2 with 32 knockouts and is one of the hardest punchers in the game, pound-for-pound. Garcia, 25, is 26-0 with 16 knockouts.