This past weekend, in El Paso, Texas, WBC junior lightweight champion Miguel Berchelt defended his title for fourth time vs. rugged warrior Miguel Roman. The fight was very action-packed, yet a bit one-sided as Berchelt stormed through Roman from rounds six on, scoring three knockdowns and grabbing a ninth round TKO victory.
So entertaining was the match that it reminded us of some of the best fights on 2018 thus far. Take a closer look below to see who stood out.
Jarrett Hurd vs. Erislandy Lara
Fighting inside of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, this was a classic champion vs. champion matchup of two men with vastly different skills. Long-since being criticized for his ability to stink out the joint in some rather uneventful fights, Lara proved his grit by trading blow for blow with the younger, physically imposing Hurd.
Going into the 12th round the fight seemed up in the air, until Hurd caught Lara with a counter left hand that dropped the decorated Cuban fighter. That was the main difference in the fight, as Hurd captured a split-decision victory to claim the win in one of SHOWTIME’s and boxing’s best overall fights this year.
Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz
It’s always great when you have an entertaining heavyweight like Deontay Wilder, but whats’ even greater is when you see them tested and pushed to the brink. That’s what happened back inside of the Barclays Center in March in this see-saw battle. After a cautious start, Wilder dropped Ortiz in the fifth and took control of the fight, only to see his Cuban opponent storm back and have him in serious danger in a wild seventh round.
Wilder would weather the storm, regroup, and storm back to batter and stop Ortiz in the 11th round in one of the most electric heavyweight fights of recent times. Not only was Wilder’s power on display, so too was his heart.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs. Juan Francisco Estrada
Flashing shades of the great battles between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, this showdown between the Thai power puncher Sor Rungvisai and the calculated boxer-puncher Estrada didn’t disappoint. For 12 rounds inside of the Forum in Los Angeles, the two fighters matched their skills in one of the last and best “little man” fights to air on HBO.
Estrada stormed back ferociously down the stretch of the fight, but ultimately it wasn’t enough, as Sor Rungvisai escaped with a razor-thin victory. This is a rematch that is waiting to happen.
Oleksandr Usyk vs. Mairis Breidis
By winning the first installment of the World Boxing Super Series in the cruiserweight division, Oleksandr Usyk has propelled his career in ways unimaginable. Not only did Usyk go through the tournament undefeated to capture the Ali Trophy, he also finished as the unified champion of the division and is now in line for a big defense of his title on November 10th vs. Tony Bellew. Usyk also signed a co-promotional pact with promoter Eddie Hearn to fight on the DAZN streaming service, which could lead to a huge heavyweight showdown in the future vs. Anthony Joshua.
And while Usyk is regarded as one of the top five pound for pound fighters in the sport, we can’t forget the man who gave him the most trouble in the WBSS, tournament, Mairis Breidis, back in January. He gave Usyk a great run for his money, only to drop a majority decision after 12 rounds. Usyk may be king, but Breidis is a champ through and through.
Now this was a rematch that lived up to the hype. The tensions seemed to flair between both sides prior to this second encounter between Golovkin and Canelo, largely due to team GGG’s apparent anger of Canelo failing a pre-fight drug test in their proposed May rematch. That May date was scrapped, and the fight was pushed back to September.
At the weigh-in we saw Canelo storm towards Golovkin, but inside of the ring Saul was much more composed, fighting one of his most technically sound performances as he countered Golovkin in spots and stood his ground in the face of any incoming fire. Alvarez was rewarded with a 12-round majority decision that some felt should have went to Golovkin, and a third fight could be in store.