Lorenzo a Shock Winner on Pacquiao-Diaz Undercard
By John Novoselac at ringside (June 30, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)  
In the main support bout to Manny Pacquiao versus David Diaz, number one ranked WBC contender Humberto Soto 43-6-2 (27) of Mexico and number two ranked Francisco Lorenzo (32-4 14 KOs) of the Dominican Republic fought for the WBC interim super featherweight title. Soto did some nice bodywork in the first, ending the round with a nice combination with his foe backed up on the ropes. The challenger appeared to be crude and overmatched after one round. Soto continued to dominate in the second, as Lorenzo’s winging open handed shots did little to deter him. Soto continued doing what he does
best, working behind his jab and going to the body.

A headbutt in round three was Lorenzo’s most damaging shot so far. By the fourth round Lorenzo was bleeding from the nose and eating a lot of leather, with Soto sending him down with a minute to go. A bloodied Lorenzo crumbled down in the corner with about 0:25 seconds left, although referee Joe Cortez ruled it a result of an illegal blow. Lorenzo played it up to receive a five minute reprieve, during which time he lounged on the canvas in what appeared to be an attempt to score a DQ victory. After huddling with the officials, Cortez calls a halt to the fight. The victory was awarded to Lorenzo by way of DQ and the crowd erupted with catcalls of dissatisfaction. What a shameful way to win. It was really too bad for Soto, as he was dominating every minute of the fight.

In a scheduled 10 round heavyweight attraction, Queens native Monte Barrett 33-6 (19) looked to re-establish his place as a contender taking on the massive Tye Fields 40-1 (36), who resides in Las Vegas by way of Montana. In shocking fashion, Barrett stopped the 6’9” giant less than a minute into the first round countering off the ropes with two rights, followed by a left, and two more rights. The big man fell hard and was unable to recover in time to beat the count. Official time was 0:57 seconds.

The opening bout of the evening was for the WBO featherweight title with Californian belt holder Steven Luevano 35-1 (15) defending against Puerto Rican Mario Santiago 19-1 (14). Luevano entered the ring a prohibitive 4-1 favorite but no-one told Santiago. Both fighters looked to establish the jab and follow to the body in the opening stanza, with the titlist landing the better shots. Early in the second Luevano was sent to the canvas in a flash knockdown, only to fire back sending Santiago down shortly after rising with a hard straight left. The each way action continued into the third, with both fighters landing their share of crisp shots as their combinations seemed to be coming together.

Each combatant had his moments in the second third of the fight, with Luevano hurting Santiago with a couple hard shots, but a brief break by referee Tony Weeks allowed the challenger to recover. Luevano stunned the challenger badly on the ropes a minute into the fourth, but Santiago fired back returning the favor. The action intensified with 45 seconds left in the fifth, with Luevano stunned but firing back. Santiago seems to be gaining momentum after the sixth that carried through the eighth, ending with Luevano backed into the corner but bravely fighting back.

Through grit and determination, along with some accurate punching, Luevano regained the control he had early on in the ninth round. That control quickly reverted back to Santiago as he landed a series of very crisp shots to open the tenth. However, as in every other time in the fight, Luevano continued to fight back bravely. Luevano wa trapped in the corner midway through the tenth, and once again absorbed considerable punishment before returning fire. The experience of Luevano appeared to carry him through the championships round, in what this writer saw as the determining factor in the fight.

Official scores read 117-111 for Luevano, 115-113 for Santiago and 114-114, resulting in a draw than means Luevano retained his belt. Punch stats saw Luevano land 215 of 641, with 136 power shots landed. Santiago was credited with landing 214 of 835, with 124 power shots. Luevano is scrappy and tough, and will certainly pose problems for any of the other belt holders at 126, though a rematch would be great as this fight was full of action.

Questions or comments,
John at: jnovoselac@yahoo.com

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