Juan Manuel Marquez’s sixth-round stoppage of welterweight rival Manny Pacquiao, as well as Floyd Mayweather’s unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto, Sergio Martinez’s over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Andre Ward’s knockout of Chad Dawson, Brandon Rios’ over Mike Alvarado, and others fights involving Adrien Broner and Robert Guerrero will be featured in a seven-bout series called “Boxing’s Best” to begin on Christmas day on HBO.
Tuesday, Dec. 25 at 11:00 p.m. — Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto: Mayweather (43-0, 26 knockouts) emerged with a bloody nose from the most physical fights of his illustrious career, ending Cotto’s streak of three straight knockout victories in May.
Mayweather-Cotto generated 1.5 million buys and $94 million in pay per view revenue. Mayweather-Cotto ranks as the second- highest grossing non-heavyweight pay-per-view event in boxing history, with Mayweather’s victory over Oscar De La Hoya in 2007 being listed as No. 1, all-time, at $137 million.
In victory over Cotto, Mayweather added Cotto’s WBA junior middlweight title to the WBC welterweight belt he already owned.
Mayweather earned his eighth crown in five weight classes by defeating Cotto in front of 16,047 cheering, and, on occasion, standing fans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs) rose from a knockdown in the 12th round after having dominated the first 11, winning by scores of 118-109 on the cards of judges Dave Moretti and Adalaide Byrd, and, 117-110, on that of Stanley Christodoulu.
Chavez (46-0-1, 32 KOs), who won a total of just four of the 36 rounds scored by the judges, floored Martinez with a series of blows in the final round that was highlighted by three head-swiveling left hooks.
Martinez appeared to have twisted his right leg while spiraling to the canvas and also while attempting to support himself by holding onto Chavez.
Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs) earned his 15th straight win during a run that includes nine stoppages against Berto (28-2, 22 KOs), who was ending a 15-month ring absence.
Guerrero, 29, was in only his second fight as a welterweight, having debuted with July’s unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Selcuk Aydin (23-1, 17 KOs) for the WBC’s interim belt, a triumph that ended his own 15-month ring absence.
Guerrero has his sights on a potential mega-bout with Mayweather, the WBC’s official titleholder for whom Guerrero became the mandatory challenger by defeating Aydin.
Friday, Dec. 28 at 11:00 p.m. — Antonio DeMarco vs. Adrien Broner: In the immediate aftermath of last month’s eighth-round stoppage that dethroned DeMarco as WBC lightweight titleholder on HBO, former WBO junior lightweight titletholder Broner was tearfully emotional in the ring.
A 23-year-old from Cincinnati, Broner (25-0, 21 KOs) scored his fifth straight stoppage win, ending DeMarco’s streak of five consecutive victories since falling by ninth-round knockout to the late Venezuelan Edwin Valero (27-0, 27 KOs) in February of 2010.
Over rounds four through eight, Broner averaged 39 power shots landed, nearly triple the weight class average of 14. Broner landed, in succession, 52, 40, 32, and, 37 power shots in the last four rounds, choosing to wage battle from close range where he repeatedly pummeled DeMarco (28-3-1, 21 KOs).
The end came at 1:49 of the eighth, when a right uppercut by Broner drove DeMarco backward and to the canvas. Referee Benjy Esteves was about to begin the count when DeMarco’s corner stepped on the ring apron, waved a white towel and signaled the end to the fight.
Ward successfully defended his RING super middleweight championship, scoring a 10th-round knockout of Dawson, THE RING and WBC light heavyweight champ.
A 2004 Olympic gold medalist, Ward was coming off of December’s unanimous decision over Carl Froch to take the Englishman’s WBC belt in addition to earning the Showtime Super Six World Boxing Classic Cup and THE RING’s vacant title.
Ward fought through a broken left hand to defeat Froch, later being named Fighter of The Year for 2011 and the recipient of the Sugar Ray Robinson Trophy from the Boxing Writers’ Association of America. Hunter was named the recipient of the Eddie Futch Award for Trainer of The Year from the BWAA.
A 26-year-old Oxnard, Calif., resident, Rios entered the bout with Alvarado after having escaped a controversial split-decision over Richard Abril in April, this, following an 11th-round knockout of John Murray last December.
Rios failed to make the 135-pound lightweight limit for both fights against Murray and Abril. Rios lost his WBA crown at the scales against Murray, and could not regain it as a result of his weight issues against Abril.
A deal was struck with the Murray camp in which Rios could weigh no greater than 10 pounds (147) more when he was checked at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday at his hotel. After Rios weighed 146.4 pounds on the morning of the fight, his bout with Murray was allowed to happen.
Saturday, Dec. 29 at 11:40 p.m. — Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez 4: Four-division champion Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs) got his revenge in the best way possible, dropping Pacquiao in the third round, rising from one himself in the fifth, and then flattening his arch-rival with a blistering straight right hand with one-second left in the sixth round of their fourth showdown on Dec. 8 before a thrilled and raucaus crowd of 16,348 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on HBO Pay Per View.
The sudden end came at 2 minutes 59 seconds of the round when Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) walked into a counter right that left him flat on his face near the ropes and his own corner. Referee Kenny Bayless didn’t need to count, as Pacquiao lay motionless for at least two minutes.
Marquez had lost a majority decision to Pacquiao last November after having fought to a draw and losing a split decision to the Filipino icon.
Dropped three times by Pacquiao in the first round of their initial meeting as featherweights in May of 2004, and once in the third round of their second as junior lightweights in March of 2008, Marquez gained yet another shot at redemption when Pacquiao chose to face him over a rematch with Tim Bradley, whose disputed split-decision victory dethroned Pacquiao as WBO welterweight beltholder in June.
Marquez had dropped Pacquiao to his back with a lead right in the third round but touched the canvas with his own glove in the fifth after taking a left from his rival. Pacquiao tried, but could not finish him off.
Marquez capitalized on Pacquiao’s aggression, putting the finishing touches on the sweetest victory of his career.
All times are ET/PT.
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com