It’s a pretty nice televised undercard, is the one on Saturday’s Bernard Hopkins vs. Chad Dawson pay-per-view, with Jorge Linares vs. Antonio DeMarco, Danny Garcia vs. Kendall Holt and Paulie Malignaggi vs. Orlando Lora. We’ll update in this space after each fight.
On the untelevised undercard, a couple fights of interest:
Dewey Bozella, the 52-year-old cruiserweight making his pro debut after spending 26 years in prison for a crime for which he was exonerated, won a decision that was said to be hard-earned. But this time, unlike with so many times where someone finds a pr boxing match to be the most difficult thing they’ll do in their life, I’m guessing Bozella has had bigger challenges to overcome.
Also, Luis Collazo lost his junior middleweight fight in a close bout with Freddy Hernandez. Collazo really screwed himself by not taking that Andre Berto rematch for allegedly short money, didn’t he? He’s floundered since and now is gonna have a lot of trouble building himself back up as a contender, if he even can.
On the televised undercard:
On paper, the welterweight clash between Malignaggi and Lora figured as the least desirable of the PPV, and except for the 1st and 10th rounds, it turned out that way. Malignaggi, in the middle rounds, was simply too fast and too skilled for the one-dimensional and slow Lora. The 1st round was noteworthy because a big Lora right hand wobbled Malignaggi, who doesn’t get wobbled often because he’s a super tough New York kid. But he clearly recovered to do what he should’ve, which was box the ears offa Lora. Once he started doing that, the fight was robbed of any excitement whatsoever, even though Malignaggi was fighting aggressively and cut Lora’s eye in a way that had you wondering whether he’d get a rare stoppage win. He didn’t, and just for the heck of it, came out slugging toe-to-toe in the 10th. If Malignaggi is talking about retiring as the HBO team said, he didn’t behave that way in the ring. But you wonder why he didn’t just take the Devon Alexander fight, if he’s looking to get out of the game — it would’ve been a better payday than this Lora thing.
In a huge step-up, young junior welterweight Danny Garcia passed the test against a lethargic Kendall Holt, even if he didn’t “wow” with the split decision win. Garcia tasted Holt’s power in the 1st round and maybe it made him cautious, but he began to pick it up and do well against Holt’s speed with nice timing. Holt, maybe after getting wobbled in the 3rd, decided he wasn’t going to be interested in engaging, or maybe he decided that just because he’s Holt and Holt is as erratic a talent as there is in the sport. He woke up in the 8th when Garcia took a Floyd Mayweather-esque shot at Holt while Holt tried to touch his gloves, but he couldn’t sustain the energy. How someone gets tired NOT throwing punches — and Holt threw very few over the course of the fight — I cannot know. And Garcia had Holt hurt badly in the 11th but didn’t at all follow up, maybe because he was well aware of Holt’s ability to score knockouts after being hurt…? Anyway, Holt could’ve fought better, but the fact that he’s Holt explains it. Garcia could’ve fought better, although maybe only his youth explains that. That one judge saw it for Holt was bizarre, by the way. I gave Holt three rounds.
There were dramatic turns in the narrative of Antonio DeMarco-Jorge Linares, none more dramatic than the ending that saw the underdog DeMarco come from behind to stop Linares in the 11th round of their lightweight bout. The beginning was a pure display of Linares’ talent, with Linares doing all the phenom shit he can do and very few others can, moving in and out, throwing lead left uppercuts, all of it. But in the 6th, DeMarco opened a big cut over Linares’ nose that never quit bleeding copiously, and then all a sudden DeMarco was energized and Linares found himself compelled to trade. Wrong idea. Before long, Linares had another cut over his right eye, and his face was as bloody a face as you’ll ever see in a boxing ring. But he rallied in some of the rounds before the 11th, going back to sticking and moving that showed his fighting spirit. But in that 11th, DeMarco started doing some damage on the inside, and Linares didn’t or couldn’t hold. Instead, he opted to trade yet more, and he got the worst of it. Why he didn’t hold, I don’t know. And when the ref stopped it, I thought it was premature. But he was taking a lot of damage along the ropes, and didn’t protest the stoppage. For Linares, it was a setback for a major talent who hasn’t quite put it all together yet but probably still can with trainer Freddie Roach in his corner. For DeMarco, it was a show of guts and determination en route to the career-best victory the passionate, hard-nosed youngster deserves as much as anyone else, after coming up short against Edwin Valero.