It seems that if we talk about top Filipino fighters one man is always forgotten. John Riel Casimero (19-2, 11), the current IBF Light Flyweight champion. So over looked is Casimero that many fans didn't even seem to realise he was in action this past weekend.
Sure Casimero will never be in the same bracket as superstars Nonito Donaire or Manny Pacquiao, but he doesn't even seem to be in consciousness of many fans.
Despite being the over-looked man of Filipino boxing Casimero showed what he was capable of as he defended his world title for the third time. Facing tough Mexican Felipe Salguero (18-5-1, 13) we expected Casimero to really pushed hard. Salguero did, after all, give Donnie Neites a very tough contest last time he fought a Filipino.
Amazingly, considering the fight Salguero gave Nietes, Casimero dominated his challenger and put on a performance that should remind Filipino fans just what a talent this youngster is.
Casimero started the fight by taking advantage of Salguero's stylistic issues. Salguero likes to set his feet and load up on shots and instead of standing in front of him Casimero used movement and accurate shots to disrupt the balance and timing of the Mexican. It wasn't exciting early on but it was cleaver with Casimero just managing to do enough to take the rounds.
The champion showed a different facet to his game in the middle rounds as he started to step up and fight Salguero in round 5. It was in this round that Casimero began to look like the champion hammering Salguero with several hard stinging shots from either hand. It appeared, several times, that Casimero had hurt the challenger though he couldn't, legally, put the challenger down.
In round 6 Casimero again had notable success cutting Salguero, who was still looking tough but was starting to eat punches. It seemed that if Casimero could find just one more gear he was going to be able to the Mexican out early.
Despite the successes in rounds 5 and 6 for the champion he was given a scare in the seventh as Salguero rocked him with a right hand, scoring his most notable moment of success. Unfortunately for Salguero that was about it for his success as Casimero rode out the storm and came back with a vengeance dropping the Mexican in the following round.
Although Salguero managed to pick himself off the canvas in round 8 it was obvious he was coming undone. He was still as game as they came but he was now feeling the effects of Casimero's uppercuts which again came in to play in round 9 as the challenger was dropped for the second time.
Despite the two knockdowns Salguero refused to give up and tried his best to fightback in round 10. Unfortunately for him the tenth was just a momentarily break in the beating he was beginning to suffer. Casimero turned the gas back on in round 11 sending Salguero down again with a combination. This time the referee had decided enough was enough and waved off the bout. It was almost certain that, given the chance, Salguero would have continued but though he would have taken a lot more punishment than he'd of given Casimero who looked sensational at times.
Although Casimero managed to make a statement defending his Light Flyweight title it appears that it could be his final bout at the weight. He hinted that making the 108lb limit was difficult and with that in mind a move to Flyweight would be likely.
Unfortunately the Flyweight division is one of the sports very best divisions and appears to only be getting tougher. Not only does it have world champions like Akira Yaegashi, Juan Francisco Estrada, Juan Carlos Reveco and Moruti Mthalane but also a host of excellent championship level fighters such as Edgar Sosa, Hernan Marquez, Brian Viloria, Milan Melindo, Rocky Fuentes, Koki Eto and Roman Gonzalez. If Casimero is forced up he will likely struggle to compete at the elite level, if he can stay at Light Flyweight however there are interesting bouts out there that he'd be favoured in.
In boxing there is the great adage of "Styles make Fights". This can often be used as a explanation as to why "triangle" theory doesn't work in boxing, but it can also be used to explain why a fight will be great or forgettable. For example two counters punchers tends to make for a some what dull fight whilst two warriors makes for a war.
When the men involved in a fight are fighters like Ruslan Provodnikov (23-2, 16) and Mike Alvarado (34-2, 23), the concept of styles make fights meant we were in for a good one. They are both warriors with heart and power, who whilst technically limited are always there for a fight.
The fighters mentality was obvious from the opening round as the two men engaged in a toe-to-toe battle. Alvarado had tried to fight off the back foot with his boxing skills though was quickly dragged into a war which seemed to suit the more powerful Russian who just sneaked the round despite being forced to take some monstrous shots in return.
Although the opening round was a fight it was obvious that Alvarado wasn't going to just willingly fight Provodnikov's fight. Instead of continuing to trade Alvarado boxed on the move, refusing to give the Russian time to set his feet and in rounds 2 and 3 it appeared that the much anticipated war was going to be less brutal than we had expected. Alvarado was willing to mix it up, but was trying hard to just box and pick his spots well.
Thankfully just as it seemed that Alvarado was going to box for 11 rounds we got a second round of fighting with the two men trading through out round 4. This saw Provodnikov having more success than he had in the previous two rounds. Though the round was close and could have gone either, it appeared that it was the style of fight more suited to the power and toughness of the Russian.
The close nature of round 4 was repeated in rounds 5 and 6 as we saw both Alvarado's movement ad Provodnikov's pressure both having their moments. All three rounds could have swung either way though the likely score at the 6 round mark was 57-57 with neither man deserving to actually be behind.
Unfortunately Alvarado had struggled to make weight and his movement was surely sapping his energy, which hadn't been helped with Provodnikov landing a number of hurtful body shots through the first half of the fight. It seemed likely that if either man was going to slow it was going to be Alvarado and that's what seemed to happen at the very end of round 7 as he was rocked almost on the bell. It had been a very close until Provodnikov rocked the American though it became the start of the end.
Neither man had been down through the first 7 rounds but Provodnikov changed that in round 8 as he took advantage of the fact Alvarado was slowing. Provodnikov landed bomb upstairs to seemed to hurt Alvarado early in the round then followed up with a body shot that sent the American into his shell. A follow up attack soon sent the American down for a 9 and almost saw the bout waved off. Alvarado never got close to recovering and was dropped again as Provodnikov looked for the finish. The heart of Alvarado was the only thing keeping him in the fight as he got up for a second time, though with a 10-7 round against him he was in a serious hole.
Alvarado's legs hadn't recovered by the start of round 9 and in fact he looked like a spent force. Unfortunately it also appeared that Provodnikov was running low on energy himself and fought a very restrained round 9, almost as if he was waiting for an opening rather than forcing one as he had in the previous round. It was certainly a round for the Russian but it looked like he may have lost his opportunity to force a stoppage.
With both men looking tired it seemed that we may, against all the odds, go the 12 rounds. Alvarado was doing a good job of moving and surviving and Provodnikov was doing enough to establish, or extend, a lead on the cards. Provodnikov however seemed to find the energy he needed late in round 10 to change all that as he launched a monster assault with Alvarado on the ropes. This attack seemed like it was going to send Alvarado down for a third time though some how the American remained upright.
At the end of round 10 it was a mystery as to how Alvarado was still standing, though he appeared to have no idea where he was walking to a neutral corner. Thankfully his corner made the right decision to pull him out of the fight before the start of round 11. A decision that may well have allowed Alvarado to return to the ring again as he seemed on the verge of a career ending beating if he was sent out for another round.
Although the fight wasn't quite a fight of the year contender, it was great through out. It combined brawling, fighting, boxing and heart, all the facets of a great fight. It also, for our sake, saw Provodnikov claiming the WBO Light Welterweight world title just a fight after losing a controversial decision to Timothy Bradley at Welterweight.
It's not often that a divisional kingpin is really tested and today we saw why as Wladimir Klitschko (61-3, 51) dominated and pummeled Russian Alexander Povetkin (26-1, 18) in a totally one sided contest for the WBA, WBO, IBF and Ring Magazine Heavyweight titles.
Povetkin, the supposed "WBA Regular" Heavyweight champion came in to the bout as a confident fighter. A man with a solid amateur background, a man with an unbeaten record and a man who knew the crowd were behind him. He left the bout as a broken fighter, a man who wasn't just second best but was a distant second. A man who may never be the same fighter.
Whilst Povetkin did lose, and lose clearly, he started out with a really positive mindset and went out to attack Klitschko from the off. His pressure in the first round was great to see and it was a huge change from the usual Klitschko opposition who turn up already beaten.
Unfortunately despite being offensive Povetkin did struggle to land in the opening round, and then was made to pay for his aggression in the second as a Klitschko hook dropped him for the first time in his career.
The knockdown in the second round would have put other fighters in their shell but Povetkin fought back hard in round 3, arguably doing enough to take a share of the round. It was again great to see the belief that Povetkin had in himself, unfortunately though the belief wasn't corresponding to too much success.
As the rounds went on the lack of success from Povetkin seemed to be getting to him. At range he was forced to eat jabs up close he was tied up, leaned on and generally forced to feel the strength and weight of Klitschko. It wasn't pretty from the Ukrainian man but it was effective and it was slowly taking the fight from Povetkin.
Going in to round 7 Povetkin still had fight left in him, by the end of the round however that was gone. Klitschko picked up his work and thrice decked Povetkin. Although Povetkin could, and did, make a complaint about the "quality" of the knockdowns, which seemed as much to be from pushes and punches it did seem him losing a 10-6 round.
From round 7 onwards Klitschko did as he does so often. He used his jab, he moved, he tied up when he needed to and he shut down Povetkin. Completely killing off the little big of fight the Russian had in him.
The hole that Povetkin was in on the scorecards was only helped once with Klitschko deducted a point for pushing Povetkin down in round 11, by then a point was immaterial to the result and the only thing Klitschko needed to do was avoid being disqualified or knocked out. It was with those things in mind that Klitschko seemed to fight a very tame 12th round, effectively taking it off and doing little.
Despite Povetkin making a case for winning rounds 1,3 and 12 he was never really close to winning the fight. The 119-104 cards, all in favour of Klitschko were, perhaps a little harsh, but did sum up the fact that the fight wasn't close.
For Povetkin this is probably the worst thing that could to happen to him, if, he intends to stay in the sport. This result probably is his last major bout. For Klitschko his options are open. A fight with Pulev seems likely, though if the Bulgarian doesn't want it then there are other bouts out there now.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.