NEW YORK -- Former welterweight titleholder Shawn Porter maintained his position as a mandatory challenger for unified world titleholder Keith Thurman by grinding out a lopsided decision against Adrian Granados on Saturday night in a world title eliminator on the Deontay Wilder-Bermane Stiverne II undercard at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
All of Granados' previous losses had been by split or majority decision. Porter promised before the fight he would be the first opponent to hand him an authoritative loss and he did just that. It wasn't close as Porter won 117-111 on all three scorecards. ESPN.com had the fight 119-109 for Porter.
Porter, of Las Vegas, lost a close decision -- 115-113 on all three scorecards -- while challenging Thurman in one of the best fights of 2016. But when he was denied an immediate rematch, Porter knocked out former two-time titleholder Andre Berto in the ninth round on April 22 in a final elimination fight to earn a mandatory rematch with Thurman.
But with Thurman idle until at least February or March following right elbow surgery, Porter, who did not want to only fight once this year as he had last year, elected to risk his position by fighting another eliminator against the battle-test Granados, of Chicago, who gave former four-division titlist Adrien Broner a tough fight in a split decision loss in February.
"He gave me a little trouble here and there. I hurt my left hand in the sixth round, but I kept using it," Porter said. "I had to use my jab. It took a toll on me, and by the 10th round I just couldn't throw it anymore. The strategy was to keep working the jab. I knew he'd come at me periodically. I was prepared and dug deep to get the win.
"We're gonna rest for about a week and then get back to work. We want Keith Thurman as soon as possible.
There was a lot of clinching and rough stuff in the opening round, including an accidental head-butt that left Granados with a cut over his left eye. In the second round, Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) forced Granados (18-6-2, 12 KOs) to the ropes and landed a series of uppercuts before pounding him with a sharp right hand as the round ended.
Porter, 30, trapped Granados, 28, along the ropes in the third round and punished his opponent with body shots and uppercuts as he continued to dominate the fight. Time and again Porter would force Granados, whose purse was $200,000, to the ropes and unload a flurry of shots. Granados' only response was to shake his head.
By the eighth round, Porter, who earned $500,000, was laying a beating on Granados, who fought hard the rest of the way and landed some solid shots but not nearly enough to turn the tide.
Granados saw the fight a lot differently.
"I thought that I was controlling the fight and keeping up with him the whole time," he said. "He was just trying to use his normal tricks. I rocked him multiple times, and he never had me in any trouble. He's a brute. I thought the referee did a good job breaking up the fight at the right times. It was rough, but I definitely thought I did better than the scorecards said."
Lipinets wins vacant junior welterweight belt
In a rough, grueling fight, Sergey Lipinets, whose face was a bloody mess, won a unanimous decision over Akihiro Kondo to claim a vacant junior welterweight world title.
The judges scored the bout 118-110, 117-111 and 117-111. ESPN.com also had it for Lipinets, 115-113.
Lipinets, 28, a Kazakhstan native fighting out of Los Angeles, and Kondo, 32, competing outside of his home country of Japan for the first time, were fighting for the one of the 140-pound world titles that Terence Crawford vacated after he unified the four major titles to become the undisputed champion on Aug. 19 in order to move up in weight.
Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) bloodied Kondo's nose in the second round and landed many clean, hard shots to the head and body. It took Kondo (29-7-1, 16 KOs), whose eight-fight winning streak came to an end, a few rounds to get going, but when he did, he wobbled Lipinets with a clean right hand that backed him up in the fifth round and had him briefly in trouble.
In the sixth round, Lipinets suffered a bloody cut on his forehead from an accidental head-butt. It bled badly for the rest of the fight.
"I think the scorecards were accurate, but it was a good fight," Lipinets said. "The head-butt really impaired my vision and it led to me walking into some stupid shots. I'm happy with my performance. I'm just going to keep getting better from here. I'm ready to take on any challenge thrown my way."
A right hand down the middle from Kondo rocked Lipinets in the seventh round. By the 10th round, Kondo's eyes were both marked and closing, but he continued to go forward as they traded punches, including with abandon in the final minute of the bout.
"It was a fair decision. He hit me with a lot of hard punches and I felt like I needed at least a knockdown in the last round," Kondo said. "I made up my mind that I wasn't going to show any pain or fear from his punches. I was determined to keep fighting all night. I'm going to go back and get stronger and stronger to get back in the ring. I'm thankful for this opportunity, and I congratulate Sergey on a great performance. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
According to CompuBox statistics, Lipinets landed 173 of 621 punches (28 percent) and Kondo connected with 140 of 567 (25 percent).
Breazeale knocks out Molina
In a battle of former heavyweight title challengers, Dominic Breazeale stopped Eric Molina in the eighth round of a title eliminator.
Breazeale initially was scheduled to face former world titleholder Stiverne, but when Luis Ortiz failed a drug test last month and was dropped from the main event, Stiverne -- Wilder's mandatory challenger -- was moved into the main event. That left Molina to take the assignment against Breazeale on short notice.
Breazeale, a 2012 U.S. Olympian, dominated the slow-paced fight, though Molina got his licks in, especially in the third round with a series a hard right hands to Breazeale's body. But Molina was fading as the fight went on.
Midway through the eighth round, Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs), 32, of Eastvale, California, landed a solid right hand to the head for a knockdown and punished Molina (26-5, 19 KOs), 35, of Weslaco, Texas, for the rest of the round. Molina looked spent when he got back to his corner, and referee Danny Schiavone waved off the fight on advice of the ringside doctor.
"I just came out and tried to stay aggressive and throw punches in bunches," Breazeale said. "He did a good job staying on his feet and moving so he could fight another day. But eventually, I got the stoppage I needed."
Although the fight was officially a title eliminator, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman clarified at ringside before the bout that it would not be a final eliminator, with the winner becoming the mandatory challenger for the winner of the Wilder-Stiverne II main event.
Between them, Breazeale and Molina have fought for heavyweight world titles three times. Breazeale got knocked out in the seventh round by Anthony Joshua in June 2016. Molina was knocked out by Wilder in the ninth round in 2015 and by Joshua in the third round 11 months ago.
Breazeale has his eye on getting another shot, this time against Wilder.
"Deontay is who I want to face. I have to see him. We have some personal business that we need to square up man-to-man," said Breazeale, referring to an incident between him and Wilder at the fight hotel following their victories on the same card in February. "I'm not even going to stick around for the main event. I'm going to get some pizza and catch the highlights later. I'll fight whoever wins, but I definitely want to fight Deontay Wilder. I'm ready to go sooner rather than later. I'll be back to work on Monday."
Brooklyn featherweight Chris Colbert (7-0, 2 KOs), 21, outpointed Titus Williams (7-1, 2 KOs), 28, of Elmont, New York, in an exciting eight-rounder that had the crowd cheering throughout. Colbert won 79-72, 79-72 and 78-73, but it was a fiercely contested battle. Colbert, however, was quicker and also knocked Williams down in the fourth round.
Heavyweight Efe Ajagba (3-0, 3 KOs), 23, a 2016 Nigerian Olympian fighting out of Houston, stopped Rodney Hernandez (10-6-2, 2 KOs), 28, of Modesto, California, in the fifth round. Hernandez landed a lot of punches against Ajagba, but he also took tons of shots in return. Ajagba bloodied his nose in the second round and by the fifth round Hernandez's face and chest were covered with blood. When Ajagba landed a stiff right hand in the fifth round and the blood continued to pour out of Hernandez's his nose, referee Ricky Gonzalez stopped the fight at 1 minute, 31 seconds.
Women's junior featherweight world titleholder Amanda Serrano (34-1-1, 26 KOs), 29, of Brooklyn, dropped Marilyn Hernandez (26-11, 17 KOs), 33, of the Bronx, three times in a first-round blowout in a nontitle junior lightweight fight. Serrano was all over Hernandez from the opening bell. She dropped her twice with body shots and then floored her again with a hail of punches to get the stoppage at 1 minute, 38 seconds.
Heavyweight Lenroy Thomas (22-4, 10 KOs), 32, of St. Petersburg, Florida, survived a fourth-round knockdown when he got nailed by a right hook from Ed Fountain (12-3, 5 KOs), 28, of St. Louis, to win a unanimous decision in a competitive fight. The judges scored it 77-74, 76-75 and 76-75.
Bantamweight Dylan Price (40, 4 KOs), 19, of Sicklerville, New Jersey, dropped Trevor Ballinger (0-3), 29, of Cincinnati, twice in a first-round knockout at 2 minutes, 1 second.