Luis Nery became a two-division world titlist by defeating Aaron Alameda by unanimous decision, winning the WBC 122-pound title Saturday night on the Jermell Charlo-Jeison Rosario undercard at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Nery, who has vaunted power, never came close to stopping a disciplined Alameda, who did manage some solid moments in the late rounds of the fight.
But it was too little, too late, as Nery (31-0, 24 KOs) won by judges' scores of 115-113, 116-112 and 118-110.
Nery's power punching was a huge factor as he backed up Alameda (25-1, 13 KOs) throughout the fight, and while he didn't land many punches on Alameda's chin, Nery consistently struck Alameda on the arms and shoulders. Alameda boxed smartly, but he didn't do nearly enough to win any of the early rounds.
"Alameda has a nice jab -- he definitely connected -- but I always felt like I had the fight under control," Nery said. "His defense was good, but at the end, I really tightened up my attack and was able to get the victory.
"We know he had a lot of experience as an amateur, so we prepared for a quality opponent. It's not an excuse, but I haven't fought in a year, so I think that affected my performance a little."
For the most part, the fight lacked any real excitement and drama, and trainer Eddy Reynoso had to exhort Nery to put forth more of an effort in the late rounds.
"I got the victory because I landed more," Nery said. "You always look for the knockout, but he used the jab a lot and that threw me off a little bit until I was able to connect more at the end of the fight.
"There are a lot of good fighters in this division. Brandon Figueroa's name has come up, but we'll check with the team and go from there. We're ready to fight anyone at 122-pounds. We don't fear anybody."
Roman stops Payano in Round 10
Former unified junior featherweight world titlist Danny Roman got back on the winning track by defeating Juan Carlos Payano via unanimous decision in a hard-fought battle. The fight was close going into the championship rounds, but the consistent and steady attack of Roman was the difference in this fight.
Roman won the last four rounds on all of the judges' scorecards, and at the end, all three were also in agreement, each giving the victory to Roman by the score of 16-112.
Roman (27-3-1, 10 KOs) worked the body with both hands early on, but Payano (21-4, 9 KOs) adjusted by boxing from his southpaw stance, and his movement and counterpunching troubled Roman in the middle rounds.
Roman was more aggressive in the late rounds and just kept chipping away at Payano, whose work rate started to slow down.
Payano out-landed Roman 261-152, but Roman's punches did more damage. A left hand at the end of the bout sent Payano down into the ropes, but it was not ruled a knockdown by referee Johnny Callas.
Fortunately for Roman, missing out on the extra point for the knockdown didn't ultimately matter on the scorecards.
"I don't take anything away from Payano," Roman said. "I knew it would be a tough fight. He brought everything he could and I took it, made it a fight and came out victorious.
"He was countering me well because I wasn't taking the distance away. I had to either block or get out of the way. After I started doing that, it worked out and I started throwing combinations. I saw I was hurting him to the body, so I kept putting pressure on.
For Roman, the win came in his first bout since he lost his WBA and IBF titles in a close split decision to Murodjon Akhmadaliev in February.
"We're at the level and ready to fight the Luis Nery vs. Aaron Alameda winner," Roman added. "I still have unfinished business with Murodjon Akhmadaliev. I want that rematch. If not that, then I'm ready to fight Angelo Leo.
"It's always good to have your hand raised. [Payano] is a veteran and he knows a lot of tricks. I had to adjust. It feels good to get a win again and I'm looking to keep that feeling going."
Figueroa overpowers Vazquez
Brandon Figueroa successfully defended his WBA "regular" junior featherweight title by stopping Damien Vazquez in the 10th round of a fight scheduled for 12 in the first part of a Showtime PPV. Though Vazquez had success early on throwing quick combinations from his southpaw stance, the strength and power of Figueroa allowed him to take over the fight as the rounds progressed.
Vazquez (15-2-1, 8 KOs) was able to beat Figueroa to the punch in the first round. Though he doesn't possess the power of Figueroa, he was able to land some good punches. After having some issues with Vazquez in the first, Figueroa (21-0-1, 16 KOs) decided to go southpaw himself in Round 2. As the two began to exchange, Figueroa was doing more damage.
"I felt good tonight. He was a lot tougher than I expected," Figueroa said. "I was punishing him to the body and head. I had to switch to lefty because of how he was coming in with his head. I didn't want to risk a head butt so I boxed him differently. He was taking a lot of punishment and just trying to jab and survive in the last few rounds. I have to give him credit for being tough. He came to fight and proved he deserves to be in the ring with me. I knew with the pressure I put on, he wasn't going to last 12 rounds."
As the fight went on, Figueroa was punching Vazquez at will. Vazquez had his moments, but he was getting hurt more often as swelling increased around his right eye. Before the eighth and 10th rounds, the ringside doctor checked on Vazquez.
Finally, a steady barrage of blows from Figueroa forced the stoppage at 1:18 of the 10th, as referee Gary Rosato waved it off.
"My dad told me to put more pressure in the middle of the fight and that's what I did," Figueroa said. "He was holding up and taking my punches. But I knew just a little bit more damage and I could end it."
At the time of the stoppage, the cards read 89-82, 89-81 and 88-83 all in favor of Figueroa.
"This shows that I can fight under pressure, I'm strong and I give exciting fights," Figueroa said. "That's what fans want to see. I always leave everything in the ring and that's what I did tonight.
"I'm ready for anyone, I know I belong with the best fighters in the division. I just want to give fans great fights."
Casimero demolishes Micah, retains world title
WBO bantamweight titlist John Riel Casimero overpowered Duke Micah on his way to a dominant third-round TKO victory. Though Micah did everything he could to avoid Casimero's punches, he simply could not handle the offensive arsenal of the defending champion.
From the start of the fight, Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) came out swinging with a wide variety of punches, including overhand right hands and wild left hooks, and everything was thrown with full force. Micah (24-1, 19 KOs) was more than willing to meet him in the center of the ring and exchange with Casimero, often to his own detriment.
But in the second round, Casimero struck Micah with a left hook to the temple that shook Micah and and sent him stumbling backward to the canvas. Micah was able to continue, but he was still groggy and on the edge of getting stopped as he got punished for two full minutes by the oncoming punches of Casimero.
Micah somehow survived the round, but before the third he was checked by the ringside physician as a precaution. Though Micah was cleared to continue, it was all for naught as a left uppercut badly stunned him early in the third and the fight was waved off by referee Steve Willis just 54 seconds into Round 3.
"I worked hard and got the win tonight," Casimero said afterward. "In the first round, I saw the body shot hurt him and thought I could get him out right away, but he's a good boxer who was undefeated for a reason. The second round the uppercut hurt him, but Duke Micah works hard, he's strong and has a good chin. I knew I was facing a good fighter, so I didn't expect to knock him out so fast. He's strong so I was prepared to go all 12 rounds.
"I'm the real monster. Naoya Inoue is scared of me. You're next. I would have knocked out anyone today. If Inoue doesn't fight me, then I'll fight Guillermo Rigondeaux, Luis Nery, or any of the top fighters."