NABA welterweight title
NABO welterweight title
WBC Continental Americas title
In what I felt was the most appealing matchup of the undercard on paper, Jones, 145.5, and Soto Karass, 147, met as two fighters who once honed their craft in the gyms of Philadelphia and Los Mochis, Mexico, respectively. It came to no surprise that the fight lived up to expectations and the two combatants gave the fans a war. Ultimately, Jones would pull out a razor-thin majority decision for three minor belts that many in the stadium felt could have gone to Soto Karass.
Soto Karass, who initially came in one pound over the welterweight limit before making the weight the second time around, initially pumped the jab, looking for an opportunity to throw his right cross behind it. But the disparity in speed between the new fighters was readily apparent, as the second round led to the best exchange of the night at that point.
As the two traded volleys, Jones continually beat Soto Karass to the punch for what seemed like a minute straight. However, the stubborn Soto Karass would not even go as far as to take a knee. Jones obliterated Soto Karass on the CompuBox scoresheet, taking the round with a 58-6 edge in punches landed. The roar from an appreciative crowd that was hungry for any type of action was deafening.
However, the Mexican would turn the tide in the third, when a seemingly spent Jones stumbled in the ropes as a result of a Soto Karass left uppercut. As he pushed Jones into a shell and unleashed his own attack, Soto Karass suffered a cut on the side of his left eye. Jones returned the favor by refusing to go down as the enthralling round came to a close.
The fourth, fifth, and sixth frames would echo the third. Soto Karass, blood beginning to stream down his face and down Jones’s white trunks, threw an onslaught of body shots with both hands, supplemented with jabs that snapped an increasingly tired and backtracking Jones’s head back.
Jones, perhaps getting his legs back, came out of the corner in the seventh with a renewed purpose, landing a series of jabs. However, Soto Karass weathered the mini-storm and his patience paid off. He landed a big left hook to the body and followed it up with an overhand right to cap a round that could have gone either way.
Before the eighth, Jones revealed a cut of his own, as his corner applied some ointment over his right eyelid.
Tensions raised in the ninth when referee Rafael Ramos sent Soto Karass to the ring doctor to examine his cut. It was here where the momentum temporarily shifted toward the Philadelphia fighter. Jones landed several consecutive hooks that had brutal intentions and stopped the Mexican in his tracks.
The last round was highlighted by two visibly exhausted prizefighters Jones landed a peach of a left hook on his opponent’s jaw, and Soto Karass answered with a left hook of his own to Jones’s ribcage. As the seconds wound down to the final bell, the two spilled the remainders of their tanks in the ring, with Jones getting the better of the last exchange.
Gale Von Hoy had it 94-94 even, but Levi Martinez gave the nod to Jones, 95-94, and Sergio Caiz somehow saw it fit to give Soto Karass only three out of ten rounds in a 97-93 score.
“I felt I pulled out the victory,” opined Jones. “I kind of punched myself out in the second round. After that, I had to get my legs back under me. It was all heart after that.”
“He said he didn’t get his legs back until the eighth round,” said Russell Peltz, who now shares promotional duties of Jones with Top Rank. “It would make a tremendous rematch on HBO.”
With the victory, Jones inches closer to a world title shot at 23-0 (18). Soto Karass, who now has two losses and a no-contest in his last three bouts, goes to 24-5-3 (16).
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX SD12 RICARDO CORDOBA
Interim WBA Super Bantamweight Title
Despite having only six pro fights under his belt to Cordoba’s 41, Rigondeaux was three years older by virtue of spending most of the decade in Cuba’s amateur system, where he won two Olympic gold medals at bantamweight.
In the weeks leading up to the fight, Cordoba, 121, made it clear he was unfazed by the reputation of Rigondeaux, 121.5. In fact, the fighter from San Miguelito, Panama, went so far as to remind the Cuban that he was no longer in the amateurs. However, it would be “El Chacal” who would have the last laugh, as he edged his fellow southpaw in an aesthetically displeasing, lackluster effort.
By the third round, the spectators began to whistle, far from content with a hyped “battle” that looked more like the art of throwing and not getting hit regardless of whether punches were landed.
In the fourth frame, some semblance of fisticuffs began to materialize. A laser of a left hook from Rigondeaux strafed Cordoba just above the beltline and floored the Panamanian.
Unfortunately, not much else of note occurred for much of the fight, as the capacity crowd went into a “wave” twice during this time to keep themselves occupied. Rigondeaux backpedaled and got comfortable in a position to counter in what amounted to a glorified session of tag.
As referee Jon Schorle wiped his relatively dry brow after an uneventful outing, ring announcer Michael Buffer announced the scores amid a shower of boos for the fighters. Raul Caiz, Sr. scored the bout 114-112 for Cordoba, while Nelson Vazquez and Ruben Garcia saw it 117-109 and 114-112, respectively, for Rigondeaux.
Rigondeaux, who now calls Miami his home, adds his first world title belt to his collection. He jumps to 7-0 (5). Conversely, Cordoba’s record plummets to 37-3-2 (25).
BRANDON RIOS TKO5 OMRI LOWTHER
Rios, 139.2, a late addition to the card after former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik’s bout was scrapped, put an end to a tumultuous week by defeating Lowther, 137.5, by fifth-round stoppage. Currently the No. 1 contender in the WBA lightweight rankings, the Oxnard native had no trouble with Lowther, who was physically outgunned from the start.
Rios stirred controversy earlier by participating in a video that seemed to make fun of Freddie Roach’s battle with Parkinson’s Disease. The weigh-in was far from smooth sailing; Rios first came in at 139.8 pounds, which exceeded the contracted limit of 139. After a painful hour and a half, the Oxnard, Calif., native returned to the scales and came in at 139.2. At that point, the two camps worked out a resolution where Lowther received an extra portion of Rios’s purse in order for the fight to go through.
There was no fairytale ending for Lowther, however. The size difference was clear as a bigger Rios walked him down throughout the clash and proceeded to fight on the inside, with his preferred weapon of choice the left hook to the body. Lowther, for his part, landed quite a few clean left hooks of his own, but they were not enough to keep Rios at bay. In the final seconds of the fourth round, Rios landed a left hook to the head that staggered Lowther, and signs of wear were beginning to show.
The same punch struck paydirt for “Bam Bam” in the fifth, and by then, the story became a matter of when it would end. Rios then threw a one-two volley that shook Lowther, followed by a left hook for good measure. Lowther, defiant to the very end, refused to go down until referee Raul Caiz, Jr., called a halt to the bout at 2:17.
The victory has earned him a title shot if you ask his promoter.
“Soto and Antillon are fighting for the WBA [lightweight] title, and it’s written in the contract that if Brandon won his fight tonight, that the winner would get fight him. And he did just that,” shared Arum.
“[Omri]’s a tough kid,” said Adam Harris of Hennessey Sports, Lowther’s promoter. “He gave it his best in the toughest of circumstances.”
Rios, who was born in Lubbock, Texas, keeps his unblemished record in one piece, moving to 26-0-1 (19). Lowther, hailing from Toronto by way of Georgia, falls to 14-3 (10).
ANGEL RODRIGUEZ UD4 JUAN MARTIN ELORDE
In a swing bout, Elorde, 131.25, a southpaw from Parañaque City, Philippines, may have a last name that rings familiar with fight fans, as he is the grandson of Hall of Famer Gabriel “Flash” Elorde. Rodriguez, 132.5, of Houston, Texas, presented the first real test of the Filipino’s young career, having already shared a ring with prospects like Adrien Broner, Diego Magdaleno, and Casey Ramos.
Unfortunately for Elorde, Rodriguez’s edge in experience was the difference, as he outworked his opponent to the unanimous decision victory.
Scores were 40-36 twice, and 39-37 for Elorde.
With the win, Rodriguez moves to 5-4 (4), while Elorde incurs his first loss, falling to 11-1 (4).
ROBERTO MARROQUIN TKO1 FRANCISCO DOMINGUEZ
Exciting prospect Marroquin, 125.75, electrified his hometown fans with some offensive fireworks, sparking Dominguez, 126, with a right cross in the very first round. Just moments after Dominguez got back up, monster right hand followed by a flurry of punches finished off Dominguez, who went down on his own.
The bout was stopped at 1:27 of round one.
“Everything was rushed. We were supposed to be the seventh fight, and then it turned out the sixth fight, so we didn’t have time to warm up. I tried to use the first round as a warm-up. We were coming in expecting to go the full eight rounds. I hit him, and then when he stepped back, I wondered what was going on? But we did what we were supposed to do, and that hook never fails me,” Marroquin said, smiling.
Marroquin was recently developing his craft with Freddie Roach at Hollywood’s Wild Card Gym with , but is now working with Las Vegas-based Danny Smith, who meets him in Texas to train.
“He was moving his head a lot, using his feints more,” said Smith. “It was a short fight, so the next fight, I can make a better assessment.”
Marroquin, another former Wild Card alumnus, pushes his streak to 17-0 (13). Dominquez, a product of the border town of Cuidad Juarez, Mexico, drops to 7-6 (1).
MIKE LEE TKO1 KEITH DEBOW
Chicago native Lee, 175.25, made quick work of St. Louis resident Debow, 172.25. The 23-year-old prospect cornered Debow, then unleashed a series of punches, punctuated by two jabs and a one-two through Debow’s guard that sealed the victory.
Referee Neal Young called it a night at 1:33 of the first round.
Lee had a healthy contingent of friends and family in attendance, including fellow Notre Dame alumnus and five-time Pro Bowler Ricky Watters.
Lee, who claims a degree in finance from the Catholic university in South Bend, now stands at 3-0 (2). With the loss, Debow remains winless at 0-3-1.
JOSE BENAVIDEZ TKO3 WINSTON MATHIS
The 18-year-old Benavidez, 140.25, was featured on MaxBoxing this week as one of the sport’s hottest prospects. The lanky Phoenix pugilist did not disappoint, using his height and reach advantage to pull out his latest impressive triumph. Mathis, 141.75, of Stockbridge, Ga., by way of Rochester, N.Y.,
Mathis seemed undeterred by the kid’s reputation, beginning the bout by coming forward and going to the body. However, it would be the young fighter’s subsequent left hook to the midsection of Mathis that turned the tide of the round. Soon after Mathis rose to his feet, Benavidez summoned him back to the floor with a seemingly identical left hook to the same spot. To his credit, Mathis beat the count before the bell.
A clash of heads before the end of the second, resulting in the first cut of Benavidez’s career. The third round would be the final act of this pugilistic play, as a left hook followed by a vicious right cross over the top found its target. Mathis’s glove touched the canvas, and referee Neal Young sent him to a neutral corner.
Afterward, Young called the bout at 2:24 of the third round, which was met with disgust by Mathis although he was noticeably on shaky ground after the third knockdown.
“The plan was there to work the body, and [Jose] did exactly what we had planned,” said Jose Benavidez, Sr., the fighter’s father and trainer. “Thanks to Brian Davis, David Garcia, [and] Emilio Garcia for working together on this camp. We had a good team.”
Unfortunately, the cut has probably torpedoed his next bout just three weeks away on the undercard of Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.’s fight with Alfonso Gomez in Anaheim. Still, the prodigy who isn’t even old enough to drink was pleased with his performance.
“He kept rushing in with his head, but I know I’m going to fight fighters like that,” he shared. “But it was a good experience getting my first cut and learning how to deal with it.”
“It’s a very deep cut,” said Benavidez’s revered cutman Miguel Diaz. “No contact for 30 days. He was going to spar with Maidana. But then this happens. That ‘s why you cannot count the chickens before they are hatched.”
Diaz is also the trainer of Marcos Maidana, who fights Amir Khan for the WBA lightweight belt on December 11.
Benavidez rises to 9-0 (9), while Mathis descends to 6-3 (2).
RICHIE MEPRANUM SD6 ANTHONY VILLARREAL
The third of four Filipinos on the card, Mepranum, 112.75, hailed from the city of Maasim in the Sarangani province where Pacquiao is currently a congressman. The southpaw did not need to lobby his government representative for any help, however, as he impeached Villarreal, 112, of Perris, California, by split decision.
Throughout the bout, Mepranum stalked his opponent, with Villarreal looking for angles to strike by occasionally switching from orthodox to southpaw. The sixth and final round concluded with a spirited exchange that brought roar from the crowd.
Scores were 58-56 twice for Mepranum, and 58-56 for Villarreal.
For Mepranum, the win takes a little sting off his last loss, an unsuccessful challenge for the WBO flyweight title against Julio Cesar Miranda in June. His record escalates to 23-2-1 (5). Villarreal now stands at 10-4 (5).
OSCAR MEZA UD4 JOSE HERNANDEZ
Meza, 137.5, who was coming off a fourth-round stoppage loss to Mercito Gesta for the NABO Youth lightweight belt, bounced back into the win column with a very entertaining four-round unanimous decision victory. Hernandez, 136.5, himself a third-round knockout victim in his last outing against Sharif Bogere, showed no shortage of competitive fire.
At the end of the fourth round, the two traded hooks; Meza’s landed and sent Hernandez to the canvas. Amazingly, it served as the margin of victory.
Scores were 38-37 twice, and 39-36 for Meza.
Meza, of El Dorado, Mexico, improves to 20-4 (17), while Hernandez, nicknamed “El Loco,” drops to 10-3 (4).
DENNIS LAURENTE UD8 RASHAD HOLLOWAY
Holloway, 147, in red trunks with black trim, has earned a reputation as one of the most sought after sparring partners in the sport, as evidenced by his role in both Pacquiao and Margarito’s camps during his career. However, this time, the spotlight was on him as he faced off against Laurente, 146.5, a southpaw hailing from Parañaque City, Philippines.
In a brawl, Laurente prevailed with raw aggression, consistently backing Holloway into the ropes and the corner, wailing away at the boxer’s ribcage with right hooks downstairs.
Scores were 78-74, 77-75, and 79-73 in favor of the Filipino.
“It was hard to penetrate his defense, and I had to watch for his counters,” analyzed Laurente.
In a peculiar situation, both fighters had extensive knowledge of each other’s camps, especially when both honed their skills at Hollywood’s Wild Card Gym.
“I know that Rashad is a hard opponent, but I’m surprised that we trained together in one gym. Luckily we were able to win,” added trainer Buboy Fernandez.
Laurente, who has now earned his 13th win in a row, moves to 36-3-5 (18). Holloway, meanwhile, tumbles to 11-2-2 (5).