Could there be any two more contrasting victories that those in the main events of the two biggest televised cards of the weekend?
On Fox Sports Net/Fox Sports en Espanol’s Top Rank Live, junior flyweight champion Ivan Calderon outslicked Jesus Iribe to the extreme to take his customary decision win. Early on, Calderon looked vulnerable. Iribe even deposited him on the canvas with a 1-2 in the 2nd round, although Calderon wasn’t badly hurt. But the longer the fight went, the sharper Calderon got and the sloppier Iribe got. And Iribe started wild, so that’s saying something. If Iribe had a jab, and didn’t throw such winging shots, maybe he’d have had more luck, because he did slip in some big body shots and might have done more good work with a little more fundamental boxing. Rodel Mayol didn’t look nearly this sloppy against Calderon. Vulnerable or no, Calderon knows so many tricks he can be viable for a while longer; I love his subtle hip swivel move when he gets trapped on the ropes, and the crowd liked it too, shouting “ole” later in the fight as he ducked Iribe’s frustrated charges. Up next for Calderon should be mandatory title challenger Johnriel Casimero, and after that, it better be someone nearer the top of his division. Calderon has talked about fighting one top junior fly after another, but keeps ending up with fringe contenders or middle-of-the-pack divisional top-10 boxers.
The undercard offered an action-packed fight between flyweights Takashi Okada and McWilliams Arroyo. Immediately, it became apparent that Arroyo, a Puerto Rican prospect to round out the card’s PR theme, was in tough, despite Okada’s 1-0-1 record. Okada could fight. Arroyo won three of the four rounds on my card, but he suffered a knockdown in the 2nd when Okada caught him on the ear; by the end, the judges had it 39-36, 38-37 and 38-37 for Okada. This loss shouldn’t hurt Arroyo, as in, no one better hold it against him — everyone with eyes could see Okada wasn’t your typical opponent for a boxer with three fights, and Arroyo fared well and delivered excitement. But it’s a very nice win for Okada, who came from Japan for the bout. Also on the televised card, welterweight Gabriel Bracero made a bid to inherit the throne of feather-fisted Puerto Rican boxers from Calderon, using his jab and counter right to blank Julias Edmonds, although Bracero’s more hittable and somehow even less powerful than Calderon, with zero KOs in 10 fights.
On ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, Quebec’s David Lemieux got rid of Elvin Ayala in one round where it took Arthur Abraham 12. Even though Ayala made a strategic mistake by slugging with Lemieux, and Lemieux benefited from a small ring, that tells you everything you need to know about Lemieux’ power. Lemieux sent Ayala down three times with punches from both hands, and once again showed tremendous marksmanship in so doing. It isn’t premature to say Lemieux is making a case for himself as one of the biggest punchers in all of boxing, even if his opponents haven’t been world class yet, because of the way he’s dispensing with guys who once had showed signs of being sturdy. Someday, he’s going to run into someone who can exploit is stubby arms — he’s got a reach of 64″, less than stubby-armed junior welterweight Ricky Hatton, 65″ — so the lower he can stay in weight, the better. He’s been fighting at super middleweight lately but coming in at less than the 168-pound limit.
On the FNF undercard, super middleweight Brian Vera played spoiler yet again — as he did most prominently against prospect Andy Lee — by knocking out home province Quebecer Sebastien Demers in the 3rd round. Vera couldn’t miss with his big right hand, and after decking Demers twice with it, he teed off with that hand to force the referee to save Demers. If you didn’t catch the card, you can catch the replay on ESPN3. Watch for lightweight Tony Luis’ left hook knockout, which was featured on ABC after the World Cup in a show called “Winners Bracket.”
On TeleFutura’s Solo Boxeo, featherweight prospect Christopher Martin outpointed Adolfo Landeros.
Off television in Mexico, Julio Cesar Miranda knocked out Richie Mepranum to take a vacant flyweight strap.