After a week of building anticipation tonight finally sees the first big boxing pay per view of the year with HBO and Golden Boy presenting Action Heroes headlined by Argentine puncher Marcos Maidana taking on Mexican legend and surefire first ballot Hall of Famer Erik Morales. A stacked card also fan favorite warriors Michael Katisdis and Robert Guerrero square off
Our live event coverage begins at 9pm ET when the show goes live on HBO PPV.
Paulie Malignaggi vs. Jose Cotto
Malignaggi starts out with the jab. Cotto hurts him with a left hand, Cotto is stocky but looks the more powerful man. Malignaggi outthrowing but Cotto can just walk through and land big shots. Cotto lands three good punches, Malignaggi is looking very punchable with little head movement. Malignaggi gets some shots in on the body. Cotto goes close with an uppercut. Malignaggi getting some good jabs in but Cotto fires back with punches of his own. Bad round for Malignaggi who despite staying busy was just getting hit too often. 10-9 Cotto.
Malignaggi just cannot pick out the left hand of Cotto, with a big punch catching him yet again. Cotto is able to just stalk Malignaggi down due to Paulie’s lack of punching power. Malignaggi starting to do a bit better as he works the jab from the outside, with Cotto reduced to lunging in. Couple of good upstairs-downstairs flurries towards the end from Malignaggi ingites the fight with Cotto firing back with a nice right hand. Fun fight. 19-19.
Cotto catches Malignaggi off balance with a left hand and there’s then a strange situation as Malignaggi gets his boot caught in the ropes and needs to call a timeout to get it back on. Malignaggi just outworking Cotto at the moment with his pitta-patta punches but Cotto clearly is the one in the fight with the power. Cotto gets a good left hook. Malignaggi’s speed is giving him the edge at the moment but Cotto fires in with a crunching body shot. 29-28 to Malignaggi.
Malignaggi is looking pretty comfortable now, content just to work Cotto over with the jab while staying at of range for Cotto’s power punches. Cotto briefly traps him in the corner and gets some body punches in, but Malignaggi quickly ecapes. Malignaggi really is dominant now with his jab looking great. 39-37
Fight’s in something fo a rut as Malignaggi has all the time and space he needs to pick apart Cotto. Malignaggi is just outworking a sluggish Cotto who is moving forward in straight lines and not putting Paulie under any sort of pressure. Cotto needs to become more urgent but there’s no evidence he’s going to kick into gear. A clash of heads opens up a cut on Malignaggi although it doesn’t look too serious. Cotto got a couple of punches in towards the end but another round for Malignaggi. 49-46
Paulie Malignaggi jabs at Cotto from range. Is caught with a couple of hard punches by Cotto. Rinse, repeat. But the action does pick up in the second half as a cut opens up above Malignaggi other eye which seemingly unsettles Paulie. This gives Cotto the chance to come back into the fight and land some good shots but not enough to take the round. 59-55
Malignaggi seems a more comfortable after a mini-scare in the previous round as he’s able to box his natural game. He has however slowed down which allows Cotto to connect with some good punches but Cotto isn’t putting combinations together as needed. 69-64
Better round from Cotto who traps Malignaggi at the very beginning of the fight and reopens the cut above his right eye. Cotto still being overly plodding with his footwork but is able to get some nice looking body punches in as Malginaggi slows down. Malignaggi is able to work his jab but isn’t showing the same explosive handspeed that he did in bursts earlier on. Cotto lunges in wih some solid left hands as the round ends. 78-74
Malignaggi still looking comfortable working Cotto over with the jab, although manages to trip up over the ropes. Traps Cotto against the ropes and showboats while teeing off on Cotto. 88-83
Aggressive start from Cotto who seeks to connect with a big hook. Cotto certainly hunting Malignaggi with more urgency but just isn’t fight smart enough to cut the ring off and trap Malignaggi. Malignaggi is happy to just retreat whenever Cotto advances, and Cotto has nothing to offer in return. 98-92. The judges give it 99-91, 99-91 and 93-97 all for Paulie Malignaggi.
Paulie Malignaggi defeated Jose Cotto via unanimous decision
In a truly awesome sight Erik Morales enters the arena with El Hijo del Santo!
James Kirkland vs. Nobuhihro Ishida
Well the Golden Boy prospect curse strikes again as Ishida destroys Kirkland in short order. After a scrappy start, Ishida drops Kirkland with a hook to the American’s chin. Kirkland looks surprised to touch the canvass and is up quickly. Ishida is on the offensive and Kirkland looks all at sea with his legs having stiffened and his head clearly not yet cleared. Ishida drops him again after putting together a really good, long combination. Kirkland’s back on his feet but its just a matter of time. The end comes after Kirkland takes a sustained beating on the ropes – while Kirkland is able to get off he quickly falls victim to a right hand from Ishida. He drops like a shot in the center of the ring and the referee has seen enough at 1.52. Well that wasn’t meant to happen was it? Poor Golden Boy its Jacobs-Pirog all over again. Kirkland gives a terrible interview afterwards where the crowd boos him as he disputes the referee’s call and calls the knockdowns ‘flash knockdowns’.
Nobuhihro Ishida defeated James Kirkland via knockout at 1.52 in the first round
WBA/WBO Interim Lightweight Title Match
Robert Guerrero vs. Michael Katisdis
So is the winner of this bout a unified champion? My god boxing titles are convoluted. Thet feel each other out for a while and then they exchange on the inside with heavy leather. Guerrero is landing the better of the punches, connecting with some really good left hands and right hooks from the center of the ring. Katisdis is reduced to rushing in with flurries that while eye-catching are clearly not the damage that Guerrero’s power punches are. Impressive first round. 10-9 to Guerrero.
Guerrero again takes the center of the ring and is flicking the punches out with menance. Katisdis is coming with combinations to the body. Guerrero is working the jab well and is looking comfortable. And as write that Katisdis catches Guerrero with a hook for what should have been a knockdown but the referee doesn’t count. And now they exchaneg as both let their hands fly with a wonderful, furious exchange of leather. Guerrero’s head cleared impressively and he landed the better work throughout the round. 10-9 to Guerrero (should have been 10-9 to Katsdis but the knockdown wasn’t called). 20-18
Guerrero really is dominating Katisdis with that left jab, using it as a platform to bring in a nice left uppercut and right hook. Katisdis drags him into a brief exchange on the inside but Guerrero again reestablishes himself. Guerrero is looking a cut above Katisdis as he just connects with wonderful combinations. 30-27
Katisdis is just simply at bay thanks to the jab of Guerrero, he simply has no answer. Katisdis is taking tremendous punishment here as Guerrero just connects at will with real punches – for the first 90seconds I don’t Katisdis threw a single punch. Katisdis does start getting a threw shots in and then similarly hurts him Guerrero with a left hook. Katisdis later tags him with a left hand and they briefly get into another exchange on the inside. 40-36
Guerrero is in control as he works Katisidis from distance. He then knocks Katisdis off balance with a straight counterpunch and swarms over the Australian as he goes for the kill. Wonderful sequence as Guerrero just picks his punches as tries to finish the tough Katisdis who can do nothing but survive on the ropes. Absolutely devastating and Katisdis face is badly marked up. A clear 10-8 round. 50-44
Katisdis has been forced onto the back foot after the beating he recieved in the previous round. Guerrero is looking absolutely superb and is landing precision punches throughout. They exchange body punches at distance. This round is a notch below the first five as both fighters take a breather. Katisdis for one looks an absolute mess. Another round for Guerrero. 60-53
Katisdis goes for it at the start of the round but is unable to find the space to land anything meaningful. Katisdis tries to push forward but gets caught on the way in by Guerrero. The pace of the fight has certainly slowed with Guerrero seemingly focused on conserving energy during these middle rounds. Because of this lack of intensity in Guerrero’s game Katisdis is able to make the round ugly although Guerrero landed the better punches. 70-62
The story of the round is a terrible performance from the referee who penalises Katisdis a point after an accidental low blow despite no previous warnings. Katisdis then starts taking charge with an inspired change in tactics by starting to hit the body with crunching hooks to the body. The referee then bizarrely intervenes and penalises Katisdis for a low punch that simply didn’t exist. Katisdis then renews the assault and Guerrero is really struggling after being in control for most of the fight. Guerrero comes back with a great uppercut and then they exchange punches on the inside. Towards he end Katisdis pushes Guerrero back with more body shots. Katisdis’ round but sadly the two point deduction means that Guerrero actually gets more points from the round. 79-70.
That may have been the last throw of the dice for Katisdis as he’s back to being outboxed by Guerrero in the ninth. Both fighters looking very tired now but Guerrero has the tactics to keep Katisdis at bay. And then in another bizarre decision from the referee he penalises Guerrero one point for another imaginary low blow. Odd, very odd. 88-79
Guerrero is firmly back in control now as he picks apart Katisdis. Katisdis rushes in with lunging punches but Guerrero is able to move around the ring and away from Katisdis big punches with ease. Guerrero clearly looking to ride out a decision with only three rounds left. Katisdis lands several big left hands to illustrate the dangers of such an approach. In frustration Katisdis pushing Guerrero. 98-88
Katisidis is looking to force the fight but Guerrero happy to tee off from a distance, connecting with nice jabs and goes close with a good uppercut. Guerrero is just connecting at will in the round with Katisdis again being nothing more than a sitting duck. 108-97
Guerrero is destroying Katisdis landing crunching one-two combinations as he throws his punches with precision and power. Katisdis digs deep and puts together a really good flurry up against the ropes. Tremendous heart from the Australian. The fight has a grandstand finish with Katisdis coming forward and Guerrero closing proceedings with a couple of nasty straight punches that land clean. 118-106. The score is slightly misleading due to the missed knockdown and the unwarranted two point deduction but it was certainly a dominant performance from Katisdis. The judges have it 117-108, 118-106, 118-107 for Robert Guerrero. Really good performance from an impressive Guerrero who is surely destined for a shot at a legitimate world title in a third weight.
Robert Guerrero defeated Michael Katisdis via unanimous decision to win the WBA/WBO Interim Lightweight Titles.
Interim WBA Light-Welterweight Title Match
Marcos Maidana vs. Erik Morales
Big chants for Morales. Maidana starting aggressively, hoping to capitalise on the fact that Morales has been starting slower since his comeback. Maidana is bullying Morales already, punishing the body up against the ropes with big hooks. Maidana goes close with an uppercut. Morales is looking very slow and his punches are lacking snap. Morales gets some punches off from long range. Maidana coming inside at will, threatening with the uppercut repeatedly. Maidana is pushing Morales back far too easily, and the round ends with Maidana going to the body up against the ropes. 10-9 to Maidana and it looks like the sacrificing of a veteran that many said it would be when the fight was first made.
Morales right eye is a mess – no cut but plenty of swelling. Maidana landing some good hooks to the punches while Morales goes upstairs with some straight punches to the head. Morales puts together a good combination to the head of Maidana that pushes the Argentine back briefly. Morales lands a shot to the body of Maidana and it seems to hurt. Maidana comes back strong with some solid shots to the body and a big right hand but Morales isn’t bowed. Not a bad round for Morales but Maidana landed the better, harder punches. 20-18 to Maidana
Maidana connects with a straight punch to begin the round. Morales trying to get the jab working, sneaking in some body shots. Maidana tries to bully his way inside but seems to lack his usual intensity. Morales is able to move around the ring away from Maidana, connects with a straight right. Maidana is continuing to stalk Morales and look to punish the body. Morales’ eye is pretty much closed. Morales is doing the right things but he just lacks explosiveness. Difficult round to score as Maidana was the more aggressive but didn’t land anything with any real quality. Probably Morales round, but only just. 29-28
Morales is showing how he’s the better technical boxer, working with a certain smoothness that Maidana lacks. He’s also taking Maidana’s punches better than expected. Morales is working well from a distance and forces Maidana to adopt the type of roughhouse tactics that really shouldn’t be needed in what is designed to be a showcase fight. He gets caught rubbing his head into Morales eyes and later on connects with a low punch. Maidana is throwing more but he’s missing. Morales didn’t do much in the round but it was far better than the very poor fare served up by the Argentine. 38-38.
Maidana throws caution to the wind and kicks it up gears as he tries to restamp his authority on the fight. Heavy punches being thrown by Maidana but incredibly Morales responds in kind, outslugging the dangerous puncher. What a performance this is from the veteran early on. Morales hurts Maidana with a straight punch and starts bossing Maidana with quality punches. Maidana is warned for punching on the counter and its looking like he’s punching heavy. Morales is looking comfortable as he picks apart Maidana with superior shot selection and handspeed. 48-47 to Morales
Maidana tries to bully Morales to begin with but is struggling to hide the gulf in technique that exists between the two. Morales gets the jab working but Maidana lands the uppercut. Morales is looking really good boxing at a distance from Maidana. Maidana is surely sailing close to a points deduction with his roughhouse tactics. Morales is landing the crisper, cleaner shots while Maidana looks completely uncoordinated. Maidana gets a good right hand towards the end and a left hand. But then Morales responds with a flurry. Incredible stuff. 58-56
Morales has built a great platform to secure a legendary victory but given the problem with his eye and his age the next six rounds will be difficult for him to navigate. What will help with that is the lethgary of Maidana who’s by no means pushing a fast pace, instead he’s just blodding foward trying to bully the Mexican. Morales is still producing the better work, pushing Maidana back with a good uppercut. Morales sets up a nice left hook with several unanswered jabs. Maidana is swinging and missing in response. Maidana puts some good work together towards the end of the round but again he’s missing more than he’s landing. 68-65
Morales catches Maidana with sweet left hook and Maidana is rocked, holding on for desperation. Maidana is looking very weak as he Morales hunts for the finish. Maidana lands some counters but Morales is proving capable of taking the best that Maidana can dish out tonight. This is remarkable. Maidana is able to regroup and push Morales back with some one-two combinations but Morales answers back with some work of his own. Maidana tries to punish Morales up against the ropes but the Mexican counters with a nice uppercut. More roughhouse tactics from Maidana, clearly trying to use his head. But at the moment Morales is doing the better work. 78-74.
Maidana pushes the action at the start of the ninth round and clearly hurts Morales, punishing Morales up against the ropes. A bad opener minute for Morales comes to an end when he’s able to connect with some smart jab as they exchange. Morales dominates the next minute of exchange as it looks like Maidana has punched himself out, Morales is just looking superb with his shot selection. Maidana comes back strong in the third round, and gets some punches in. Better from Maidana but he’s clearly struggling. 87-84.
Morales may be three rounds away from an astonishing victory. Maidana puts together some good one-two as he pushes Morales back. Morales fires back with combinations of his own, and connects with a thunderous left hand. Morales jumps in with a nice jab, which he follows up with another as Maidana holds. Morales is always moving forward in a remarkable performance, Maidana is falling back again. Maidana is swinging wildly again. Morales goes close with some overhand punches. This is all Morales. Just wow. 97-93
Maidana comes back with good hooks to the body but Morales fires back with straight jabs down the pipe. Maidana lands a thunderous hook to the head of Morales and the veteran is looking in trouble for a moment. But Maidana just doesn’t have the gastank to sustain the pressure and Morales is able to again regroup and push the advantage. Morales targeting the body in ugly exchanges on the inside, as Maidana repeatedly punches on the break as he has all night. Maidana’s round as Morales tires. 106-103
Maidana looks to finish the fight, starting aggressively but Morales is getting clean punches off in response. Maidana’s technical shortcomings have again been exposed as he all he has to offer is aggression. Maidana looking to punish the body of Morales but the veteran is keeping it together to get off nice jabs. Maidana is however outworking Morales in this round, with his body hooks looking good. Maidana pushes Morales up against the ropes and again works the body. Maidana gets a left hand and an uppercut in towards the end but even a final flurry doesn’t stop Morales hearing the final bell. 115-113 on my scorecard which ironically is what I believe I had for Khan-Maidana. Whatever happens the moral victory is Morales – after the derision that greeted his comeback he has put in a superb performance. The judges scorecards are 114-114 and two for Maidana on scores of 116-112.Disagree with those scores but it was close.
Marcos Maidana defeated Erik Morales via majority decision to win WBA Interim Light-Welterweight Title