Weekend Recap: Ward Dominates Brand, Benavidez Shines

Andre Ward - UD - Alexander Brand
In the main event of the weekend, Light Heavyweight standout Andre Ward (30-0-0, 15 KO) absolutely dismantled challenger Aleander Brand over a full 12 rounds. The fight turned out to be every bit of the mismatch most expected, with Ward taking control from the opening bell and winning on unanimous score cards of 120-108. Ward consistently caught Brand (25-2-0, 19 KO) with a stinging jab and hard rights to the body, barely breaking a sweat while systemically wearing down his foe.
The most exciting news to come from this bout is the guarantee of Ward meeting fellow Light Heavyweight Sergey Kovalev on November 19 now that each competitor has successfully made it past their interim fights. The matchup between Ward and Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KO) is one of the most highly anticipated fights of 2016, and will feature 2 of the top 3 fighters in the division, with WBC and lineal champion Adonis Stevenson hoping to figure into the mix after the November scuffle. The scrap between the two Light Heavyweight juggernauts is expected to take place in Las Vegas on an HBO Pay-per-view telecast.

Yunieski Gonzalez - TKO 1 - Jackson Junior
After getting a raw deal in his last two fights against Jean Pascal and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, respectively, Light Heavyweight contender Yunieski "The Monster" Gonzalez was not going to allow this fight to get to the scorecards. In fact, the heavy-handed Cuban defector made quick work of bounce-back opponent Jackson Junior, dropping him three times in the first round, causing the referee to put and end to the massacre. While Gonzalez (17-2-0, 13 KO) is not quite on the same level as the other top tier talent in the division, he is a tough out for anyone, as his power makes him a scary opponent at all times.

Juan Diaz - TKO 8 - Cesar Vazquez
Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz has had a whirlwind of a career, so making easy work of opponent Cesar Vazquez was a refreshing change for the former Lightweight champion. After a stellar title run from 2005-2008, Diaz decided to hang up the gloves in 2010. As with many boxers, the hiatus was short lived, and Diaz (42-4-0, 21 KO) returned in 2013 and is currently riding a 6 fight winning streak after the win against an overmatched Vazquez. Diaz was the agressor all night, and the referee had no choice but to step in late in the 8th round to save the challenger from taking more punishment. Diaz and his camp are actively pursing a title shot in the Lightweight divison, and could find themselves fighting for a strap as early as Diaz's next fight.

David Benavidez - TKO 10 - Denis Douglin
David Benavidez, a rising Super Middleweight propspect, showed immense speed and talent in his first 10-round contest on PBC on ESPN's main event Friday night, earning a TKO victory in the final round against game challenger Denis Douglin. Benavidez, (16-0, 15 KO), started slowly, but found his rhythm by the third round and never looked back. A flurry of uppercuts dropped Douglin in the 9th, and continued punishment into the 10th required referee Gary Rosato to call an end to the bout. Benavidez looks to be a major player in the divison in the very near future.

Rob Brant - TKO 3 - Chris Fitzpatrick
While the Middleweight division is currently loaded with talent, Rob "Bravo" Brant is looking to make a name for himself, starting with a bang tonight following his third round shellacking of little-known Chris Fitzpatrick. Brant applied pressure early and often, knocking Fitzpatrick around with ease, nearly sending him flying out of the ring entirely in the first frame. While Brant (21-0-0, 14 KO) is still young, he is supremely confident, calling for a title match against fellow Middleweight Daniel Jacobs immediately after the fight.

Malcolm Klassen - UD - Jack Asis
Carlos Morales -UD - Luis Franco
Over the weekend, a pair of Super Featherweight titles changed hands. South African Malcolm Klassen (33-6-2, 17 KO), outpointed title holder Jack Asis (35-19-5, 18 KO) to take home the IBO Super Featherweight title. The rowdy hometown crowd cheered Klassen throughout the bout, as he did just enough to earn the title on the judges cards.
Thousands of miles away, a vacant WBA-NABA Super Featherweight title was on the line, with prospect Carlos Morales taking a hard fought unanimous decision over foe Luis Franco on scores of 98-92, 97-93, and 96-94. The fight was filled with action from the onset, however Morales (14-1-3, 6 KO) was clearly getting the better of the two men when they exchanged. The judges scorecards reflected as much, and expect to see both Morales and Klassen getting much bigger fights in the near future.

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