We had an upset or two, a tremendous fight f’ed up by a goofy referee, a questionable scorecard from an old pariah and another fight ended by a strange series of events Saturday. The two major cards were an Integrated Sports pay-per-view and a Top Rank Fox Sports Net show.
- I didn’t think there should have been much controversy over the decision to rule Rodel Mayol-Omar Nino a 3rd round technical draw. The pro-Mexican crowd in the pay-per-view main event thought Nino won, but it wasn’t so simple. The two junior flyweights were heading toward a good, interesting fight when Nino landed a low blow in the 4th. Referee Vic Drakulich went to intervene both verbally and physically, but Mayol put his glove down toward his crotch and before Drakulich could get in the way, Nino landed a big left hand that decked Mayol hard. Mayol was down for a long, long time. I don’t think Nino was trying to hit Mayol late; it was just one of those things where a sequence of events happened in such a way that a technical draw was the best result. I do hope a rematch will be ordered. What’s up with Mayol being in strange fight endings the last four consecutive bouts, by the way?
- Did junior featherweight Marvin Sonsona ever look like he knew what he was doing? He had assets, like his height and speed, that showed themselves in the 1st round during the Puerto Rico pay-per-view main event, and at least one site had him as the betting favorite. But after Vazquez began exerting himself, Sonsonsa looked lost. Like some 19-year-old who was moving up two weight classes coming off a series of mishaps where he missed a bunch of flights to his training camp and badly failed to make weight in his last bout. Vazquez showed class, putting a smart attack on Sonsona and hurting him to the body in the 4th (and don’t fighters who have had trouble with conditioning have trouble taking body punches?) to the point that Sonsona couldn’t beat the 10 count. There were people who were honestly calling Sonsona “the next Manny Pacquiao” prior to this fight, I guess because he’s Filipino and had moved up in weight, and they should be ashamed of themselves. How’s a 19-year-old with 15 fights and one even decent win gonna be in that ballpark? Dummies. As for Vazquez, he showed composure after losing the 1st round and boxed intelligently. Good for him.
- Who is Mike Jones? He’s a pretty good welterweight. Mike Jones beat Henry Bruseles in a 10-round bout where Bruseles won maybe three rounds. Bruseles isn’t a bad fighter in any way, but Jones was better than him in every way, and should have had less trouble with the capable journeyman. Jones is a prospect about whom everything is pretty good — power, speed, technique, defense — and only one quality, his height, stood out. But he doesn’t do anything great. I’d like to see him against the likes of Andre Berto or Joshua Clottey. I saw Jones as having that level ability to be competitive right now, but he was tentative in a way that suggested to me he needs more experience first if he had a chance to win against someone like that.
- Also on the PPV, I guess boxing has gotten sick of the whole “defensible result/indefensible scorecard” controversy for fantastic fights and decided that it would far rather get sexy with the “ridiculously bad stoppage” controversy for good fights. Last weekend, it was Vivian Harris getting stopped wildly prematurely in his well-fought junior welterweight fight with Lucas Matthysse. This week, it was Daniel Estrada getting the KO win in the 10th round over Angel Rivero. This was a slugfest amongst slugfests for 10 rounds, and it was just as close a fight as you could hope for between two dudes punching the living piss out of one another, with the one-loss Estrada having gone down at one point against the six-loss Rivero. Then, out of nowhere, the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. Col. Bob Sheridan, a legend of sorts in the broadcasting booth, found a way to justify the ref’s decision by noting that Estrada landed three unanswered punches. Three. Whereas if you’d watched the fight, you’d know that these men were landing crazy punches on one another with the other then landing the same number of punches, and in fact Rivero was punching back in that round. If you would you like to make this fight the latest poster child for everything that’s good and bad about boxing, feel free.
- In other PPV action, McJoe Arroyo, Carlos Negron and McWilliams Arroyo all won via early knockouts over their comically overmatched opponents. McJoe, a bantamweight, won in his pro debut over an opponent who looked like Kirk trying to KO Lizard Man. Even worse, actually. He slapped at his opponent like a girl, if I may be so sexist, and then got KO’d when McJoe decided to KO him in the 2nd, whereupon his opponent fell face down like a dolphin trying to flop his way onto land. Negron, a gigantic 6’6″cruiserweight, in the 1st round whooped up on a 37-year-old man who absolutely wasn’t in the fight other than to mug and look old. And McWilliams, a flyweight, fought the only boxer of the three opponents who looked remotely like a pro boxer, and consequently landed a massive KO shot in the 1st.
- On the Top Rank undercard, top-10 junior welterweight Kendall Holt lost via 6th round KO against Kaizer Mabuza, a big big upset. I haven’t seen how it went down but apparently Holt or his corner retired him at the end of the 6th after a few rounds of getting beaten up. Holt has always had the physical talent. It’s the other stuff that’s been his problem, although having not seen this fight I don’t know what was to blame. I will say “Kaizer Mabuza” is a helluva a name for a boxer, almost as good as the probably-not-related “Silence Mabuza.” Meanwhile, junior middleweight Gabriel Rosado won a split decision over Saul Roman in a good fight I only watched in spurts (hey, it’s late). Oh, judge Pierre Benoist, who infamously scored the Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez middleweight brawl a blowout for Williams, apparently didn’t the memo about boxing having switched scandals, because he was rocking it like it was Aug. 22 through Feb. 14, giving a wide decision to Roman. When nobody notices your judging career for decades (usually a sign that you’re doing your job well), then suddenly notices how shoddy your decisions are in a pair of fights in a few months, it’s time to call it quits. Go away, Pierre.