Manny Pacquiao & Austin Trout Return, Bud KOs Avanesyan, Tale of Two Lopez

By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent

 In a December 2022 month of exciting boxing, Manny Pacquiao returned in exhibition form, and Terence Crawford, Teofimo Lopez, Luis Alberto Lopez, and Austin Trout scored important career continuing wins for the weekend of December 10-12, 2022.

 At the Korean International Exhibition Center in Seoul, South Korea, on Sunday, December 22, 2022, Manny ‘Pac Man’ Pacquiao, 62-8-2 with 39 knockouts, General Santos City, Philippines, won a unanimous six round exhibition decision, two-minute rounds, over YouTuber and martial artist DK Yoo. Pacquiao bloodied Yoo’s nose in the fifth round, and scored a knockdown of Yoo in the sixth round. The charity exhibition was also seen as the retired Pacquiao’s way of feeling out his possibility of a return against Terence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr., Boots Ennis, and other welterweights if he so desires in 2023.

 In Hidalgo, Texas, on Friday, December 9, 2022, former WBA World Super Welterweight Champion Austin Trout, 36-5-1 with 18 knockouts, Las Cruces, New Mexico, won a unanimous 10 round decision over Jose Sanchez Charles, 20-3-1 with 12 knockouts, Reynosa, Mexico. Southpaw Trout won every round with scores of 90-72 on all three scorecards, and also won the vacant Texas Combative Sports Program USA Texas State vacant Super Welterweight title.

 At CHI Health Center, in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday, December 10, 2022, southpaw Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford, 39-0 with 30 knockouts, Omaha, Nebraska, had his Omaha steak for the night when he scored a sixth-round one-punch knockout of EBU European Welterweight champion David Avanesyan, 29-4-1 with 17 knockouts, Newark, United Kingdom. Crawford fought the first three rounds at distance range, forcing the upraised gloves defensive Avanesyan to swing wildly with overhand lefts and rights which mostly missed. In the next three rounds, Bud fought with his back to the ropes, drawing Avanesyan into close range heated exchanges. A pinpoint straight power right to Avanesyan’s chin at close range closed the show, with Avanesyan down and out on his back at 2:14 of the sixth. Referee Sparkle Lee did not bother to counter.

 Featherweight Arnold Khegai, 19-1-1 with 11 knockouts, a Ukrainian fighting out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, won a 10-round split decision over Eduardo Baez, 21-4-2 with seven knockouts, Calexico, California by way of Mexicali, Mexico, in the preliminary to the Crawford-Avanesyan main event in Omaha. On the undercard, 18-0 Omaha light heavyweight prospect Steven Nelson knocked out a faded James Ballard, 10-5 with three knockouts, Detroit, Michigan, a loser of five of his last six bouts, with a lethal right hand at 3:47 of the first round.  Ballard has been knocked out twice, and lost a four rounder in his last three bouts, indicative that his career has hit the end of the road.

 At Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, December 10, 2022, Teofimo Lopez, 18-1 with knockouts, Las Vegas, Nevada, came off the canvas to score a controversial 10-round split decision over WBA International and former EBU European Super Lightweight champion southpaw Sandor Martin, 40-3 with 13 knockouts, Barcelona, Spain a late substitute for the ill Jose Pedraza who withdrew, to retain the WBO International Super Lightweight title. Martin complained of a second knockdown which the referee did not count, and incurred a broken nose from an accidental head butt.

 In the preliminary to the main event, rising heavyweight prospect Jared Anderson of Toledo, Ohio, 13-0 with 13 knockouts, scored a knockout at 1:34 of round two of Jerry Forest to win the vacant WBO International Heavyweight title. On the undercard, 7-0 lightweight Keeshawn Davis of Norfolk, Virginia, won the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Lightweight title with an eight-round unanimous decision over 35-7-3 Juan Carlos Burgos of Tijuana, Mexico. 15-0 super welterweight prospect Xander Zayas of Sunrise, Florida, retained the WBO NABO Super Welterweight title with an eight-round unanimous decision over 24-5 Alexis Salazar Flores of Norfolk, California, by way of Guadalajara, Mexico. 7-0 welterweight prospect Delante Johnson of Cleveland, Ohio, stopped 16-2 Mike Ohan of Holbrook, California in the fifth round.

 In the main event at the Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Pennsylvania, Shinard Bunch, 20-1-1 with 16 knockouts, Trenton, New Jersey, won a 10 round unanimous decision over veteran Henry ‘Hank’ Lundy, 31-12-1 with 16 knockouts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the preliminary bout to the main event, forgotten heavyweight Rydell Booker 27-7-1 with 14 knockouts, in Detroit, Michigan, exposed 13-0 heavyweight pretender Norman Neely, stopping him at 0:43 of the first round. In the two bouts preceding, Philadelphia welterweight Daiyaan Butt knocked out Brooklyn’s Taekwon Butler in the first round, and Montenegro light heavyweight Arben Markasheviq stopped Turner Williams in the first round.

In the main event of a seven bout FITE TV card at SSE Arena, Belfast, Ireland, on Saturday, December 11, 2022, Michael ‘Mick’ Conlan, 18-1 with nine knockouts, Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, dropped Karim Guerfi, 31-7 with nine knockouts, Manosque, France, along the ropes where he had him trapped, with an 18 punch body punch combination. Referee Steve Gray stopped the bout at 2:34 of the first round as Guerfi got up. In the main event at First Direct Arena in Leeds, United Kingdom, on Saturday, December 10, 2022, 27-2 with 15 knockouts, Mexicali, Mexico, won a 12 round majority decision to win the IBF World Featherweight title from Josh Warrington, now 31-2-1, Leeds, United Kingdom. Promoter Eddie Hearn protested, but Warrington has won only one of his past four bouts at the world class level.


In an all-Australian battle on neutral British ground, in the preliminary to the main event, Ebanie Bridges, 9-1 with four knockouts, New South Wales, Australia, dropped Shannon O’Donnell, 23-7-1 with 11 knockouts, Slacks Creek, Australia, in the third round and stopped her at 1::45 of the eighth round to retain the IBF Female World Bantamweight title. James ‘Kid Shamrock’ Metcalf, 24-2 with 15 knockouts, Liverpool, United Kingdom, stopped Courtney Pennington, 16-6-3 with seven knockouts, Brooklyn, New York, after six rounds, to retain the WBA Continental Super Welterweight title.


On Sunday, December 11, 2022, at Magna Centre, Rotherham, United Kingdom, 8-0 Conor Kelsoll on Doncaster, United Kingdom, won the vacant BBBofC English Flyweight title with a unanimous 10 round decision over 6-2 Benn Norman of Shepshed, United Kingdom. It was Kelsoll’s first win over an opponent with a winning record. Norman’s last three opponents had a combined 18-0-1 record when he fought them, not an easy road, as Norman has gone 10 rounds in his last three bouts, winning only one of his three 10 rounders. 12-1-1 welterweight James Flint of Doncaster, United Kingdom, won a six rounder by the bare margin of 59-58 over 8-84-7 Lee Connelly of Killamarsh, United Kingdom, who announced his retirement after his 99th pro bout.