LAS VEGAS — Jaime Munguia retained his junior middleweight world title for the second time as he easily disposed of Brandon Cook in a third-round knockout victory Saturday night on the Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez II undercard at T-Mobile Arena.
Munguia hurt Cook with a left to the body in the opening round, which Cook complained was low. Munguia, a potential future opponent for Golovkin or Alvarez, took it to Cook for the rest of the round, nailing him with several hard right hands and body shots and appeared to have him in major trouble as the round ended.
Cook (20-2, 13 KOs), 32, of Toronto, was game, but he took more punishment in the second round and was again in trouble as the round ended.
Munguia (31-0, 26 KOs) dropped him with a combination early in the third round, and when the fight resumed, Munguia continued to tee off on him. He had him trapped on the ropes and was pounding him to the head and body when referee Tony Weeks stepped in and stopped it at 1 minute, 3 seconds.
The fight was all one-way traffic, as Munguia landed 43 of 147 punches (29 percent) and Cook landed only 13 of 66 (20 percent), according to CompuBox statistics.
Munguia, who burst on the scene with a crushing, fourth-round knockout of Sadam Ali to win the title in May followed by an action-packed decision win over former titlist Liam Smith in his first defense on July 21, is expected to be back in action on an HBO card in December in a fight that will satisfy his two-fight obligation to be co-promoted by Golden Boy.
Cook’s two-fight winning streak came to an end.
Lemieux smokes O’Sullivan
David Lemieux sends Gary O’Sullivan to the canvas with a vicious first-round knockout.
Middleweights David Lemieux and Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan spent the buildup to their world title elimination fight engaged in nasty trash talk in which they threatened each other and predicted to inflict bodily harm on the way to a knockout.
Lemieux, one of boxing’s most destructive punchers, is the one who backed up his promise of a knockout by taking O’Sullivan out with ease in the first round.
“There’s not a middleweight like David Lemieux,” he said. “I felt great. I’m in superb shape. I give you guys great knockouts, great fights, and I hope you’re happy.”
Lemieux, a far superior fighter to O’Sullivan, who had never beaten anyone of note, smashed him with a left hand to the chin that dropped him face first. Referee Russell Mora began his count but quickly waved it off at 2 minutes, 44 seconds, determining that O’Sullivan was in no shape to continue.
Despite the harsh words between them, Lemieux and O’Sullivan (28-3, 20 KOs), 34, of Ireland, hugged and showed respect for each other after the fight.
Lemieux (40-4, 34 KOs), 29, of Montreal, won his second fight in a row since he was embarrassed in a one-sided decision loss on his home turf when he challenged world titlist Billy Joe Saunders in December.
With the victory, Lemieux, who lost his world title by one-sided eighth-round knockout to GGG in a 2015 unification fight, put himself in position for either a rematch or a fight with Alvarez in December.
Gonzalez destroys Fuentes
Junior bantamweight Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, the former four-division world champion who reigned as boxing’s pound-for-pound king just a couple of years ago, returned from a one-year layoff to impressively destroy Moises Fuentes via a one-punch, fifth-round knockout in their junior bantamweight fight.
Gonzalez (47-2, 39 KOs), 31, of Nicaragua, had lost back-to-back fights to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who took Gonzalez’s junior bantamweight world title by controversial majority decision in March 2017 in a strong fight-of-the-year contender and knocked him out cold in the fourth round of the September 2017 rematch.
But the refreshed Gonzalez looked strong and on point against Fuentes (25-6-1, 14 KOs), 30, of Mexico, a former strawweight world titlist who lost for the fourth time in his last five fights, including by first-round knockout in a flyweight title fight in February to Daigo Higa.
Gonzalez started to get to Fuentes in the second round, landing several hard right hands to the head to back the taller man up and never stopped. He cut him over the right eye and then put him away in the fifth round. Gonzalez landed a left hook and a fight-ending right hand to the face that knocked Fuentes out cold before he hit the mat. Fuentes’ eyes rolled up into his head, and referee Robert Byrd waved off the fight at 1 minutes, 44 seconds.
“It’s a great comeback to be on the Canelo versus Golovkin card. I can’t wait because I am a step closer to becoming a world champion,” Gonzalez said. “When he hit the floor, I got very worried for him and I panicked, and when he regained consciousness and I prayed for him and I told him that I hope God blesses him, his family, and his career. I asked for him to forgive me, because this is the job that we chose and that I didn’t mean to hurt him.”
Gonzalez dominated the entire fight, and, according to CompuBox, he landed 145 of 390 punches, while Fuentes connected with only 47 of 244 (19 percent).
Gonzalez considered retirement during his one-year layoff, but now he’s back in good form and probably headed for a spot on the “Superfly 4” card in early 2019.
Junior welterweight Vergil Ortiz Jr. (11-0, 11 KOs), 20, of Dallas, one of the best prospects in boxing, easily disposed of Roberto Ortiz (35-4-2, 26 KOs), 32, of Mexico, stopping him in the second round. Vergil Ortiz dropped him with a right hand in the second round and moments later knocked him down again with a combination. He beat the count but was in no condition to continue, and referee Vic Drakulich stopped the fight at 1 minute, 3 seconds. Roberto Ortiz lost his third fight in row.
“This win is bittersweet because I won against a great name and record, but [Ortiz] was my first-ever sparring partner when I first turned pro, and now he’s a win on the next step of my career,” Vergil Ortiz said. “During my first sparring session, he gave me a swollen lip, and today I knocked him out, which is a great benchmark for me as to how I’m progressing as a fighter. I’m excited for the future.”
Santa Ana, California, welterweight prospect Alexis Rocha (12-0, 8 KOs), 21, cruised to a lopsided victory over Carlos Ortiz (11-3, 11 KOs), 34, of Mexico. Rocha won 80-72, 80-72 and 79-73 as he handed Ortiz his second loss in a row.
“I am satisfied with my performance, but I feel I could’ve done a lot more to secure the win,” Rocha said. “I wish I would’ve thrown more punches and more combinations. He was really good at catching the shots and countering them, and I wish I would’ve had a lot more movement. We stuck to the plan, which was to break the body down, and I felt I was able to do that.”
Super middleweight Jaba Khositashvili (4-0, 2 KOs), 28, a native the Republic of Georgia fighting out of Philadelphia, won an uneventful decision against southpaw Lawrence King (4-1, 3 KOs), 21, of San Bernardino, California. Khositashvili won by scores of 58-56 on all three scorecards.
“Even though I won, I’m very disappointed because I wasn’t allowed the opportunity to demonstrate my fighting. My opponent kept holding me and wouldn’t let me fight him,” Khositashvili said. “All I want to do is fight.”
New York welterweight prospect Brian Ceballo (5-0, 3 KOs), 24, dropped David Thomas (6-4-1, 2 KOs), 30, of Orange, Texas, twice in the first round and stopped him at 34 seconds of the second round of their scheduled six-round bout.
“I figured out beforehand that he always fights the exact same way, so I knew to keep my distance and keep a fast pace,” Ceballo said. “Saw he couldn’t counter, so I kept pressure and now I’m 5-0. I’m 24 years old, and now I’m ready for a tougher opponent.”