As fights occur, updates will post, starting with David Haye-Audley Harrison and moving on to the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito fight and undercard.
Mike Jones-Jesus Soto Karass: Jones shot his wad in the 2nd round then struggled thereafter, but the welterweight prospect escaped with a majority decision over the tough, volume-punching Karass. I had Jones winning by one point, largely because he beat Karass so unmercifully in the 2nd that I gave him a 10-8 round. Jones shouldn’t have struggled like this with a fighter of this caliber, but he clearly was interested in making a big impression, so for that he’s to be commended. If he fights “his fight” next time — jabs, working power shots off jabs — it won’t be like this. I won’t dock Jones too much for that, but again, he shouldn’t have struggled with Karass under any circumstances.
Guillermo Rigondeaux-Ricardo Cordoba: Rigondeaux got a split decision over Cordoba that was a bit crazy — I had it pretty clearly for Rigondeaux — but this was closer than anyone expected. Rigondeaux scored a left hand body shot knockdown in the 4th, then suffered a surprising knockdown from a jab in the 6th. From there on, Rigondeaux gave away a few rounds he shouldn’t have running away. This was his seventh pro fight and a huge step up, so while nobody really expected a challenge from Cordoba, it goes to show that you can be one of the best amateurs ever — as Rigondeaux is — and still need to adjust to the pro game. I bet Rigondeaux’ next opponent isn’t as qualified as Cordoba. And he’ll have to figure out how to appeal to the crowd a bit more, which was booing him.
Brandon Rios-Omri Lowther: Rios beat up Lowther pretty convincingly from rounds 1 to 4, and nothing Lowther threw back did any damage. After a power punching festival in the 5th, the referee stopped it. Good call. Both men took the fight on short notice, and Rios wasn’t in very good shape; it was a junior welterweight bout where Rios failed to make weight, in fact. Rios gets hit way too much to climb to the highest heights of the sport, but he has great action hero potential; he hits hard and doesn’t mind getting hit. It’s up to you whether you want to root for him, after his jackass-y remarks about Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach and Parkinson’s. His shrieking after the fight was a bit on the grating side, too.
Robert Marroquin-Francisco Dominguez: Apparently this one was a 1st round KO, too. Too bad I couldn’t see it. Marroquin is a fun junior featherweight prospect.
Mike Lee-Keith Debow: Light heavyweight Lee apparently scored an early stoppage win over Debow? Dunno. Didn’t see it. Top Rank Live Stream has historically been good to me, but it’s been booty tonight.
Jose Benavidez, Jr.-Winston Mathis: Ultra-elite junior welterweight prospect Benavidez got the 3rd-round KO, but also a little bit more of a test than he’s had. Mathis pushed him to the ropes and even cut Benavidez. Benavidez, whose poise is remarkable for such a young fighter, showed almost too much of it by letting Mathis survive in the 2nd after decking him twice with body shots in the 1st. Finally, Benavidez staggered Mathis badly with a combination to the head, the referee initiated a count (not sure why — his glove doesn’t appear to have touched the canvas) and then waved it off, to Mathis’ protests, and Mathis had an argument. Benavidez got some harder-than-usual rounds, though, which will be good for him later.
Richie Mepranum-Anthony Villareal: Lots of close rounds here, but Mepranum got the split decision in a junior bantamweight bout I had for him widely. Mepranum was rebounding from a loss Julio Cesar Miranda. Villareal landed a lot of leather, but so did Mepranum, and Mepranum was the aggressor. Mepranum doesn’t do it for me. This was another competitive fight where no one really stood out, though.
Oscar Meza-Jose Hernandez: All three judges saw it for Meza, and I had this lightweight scrap even toward the end of the 4th, but Meza pulled it out in the 4th with a left hook knockdown that took the fight to its final bell. Over the course of the fight, Hernandez was good on the inside and Meza was good with counters. Both have been defeated by top young fighters lately, so I’m not sure this means much more than that it gives the winner an opportunity an occasion to be a respectable journeyman opponent. Since both men fought hard, I wouldn’t mind seeing either again.
Dennis Laurente-Rashad Halloway: This has to count as a bit of an upset. Halloway, the welterweight prospect known for sparring with Pacquiao and Margarito, lost a unanimous decision to 33-year-old Filipino Laurente, whose only real win of note is over a very old Ben Tackie. Laurente swarmed Halloway, trapped him on the ropes and muscled him. Halloway would land some counters from the outside, but spent too much time getting bulled by Laurente. Halloway is now 1-1-2 in his last four — he needs to show something or lose his “prospect” status, if he hasn’t already.
David Haye-Audley Harrison: Haye knocked out Harrison in the 3rd round with an explosive series of punches, a knockdown and a referee stoppage. Before that, the fight had been terrible, with both men too cautious. Harrison never abandoned his caution — I don’t think he threw a single power punch. Haye’s explosiveness is wasted, though, because he won’t fight a Klitschko brother. So the three best heavyweights in the world won’t meet, and exhibits like Haye’s Saturday make you all the more depressed about it.