First of all, let me register my displeasure that Jim Lampley doesn’t scream “Aaaaaiiii, Body!” on HBO, like Japanese commentators do whenever a bodyshot is landed. It would really spice things up.
Second, wow. Way to lose in exactly the same way twice, Hozumi Hasegawa. This fight Friday was almost a carbon copy of his loss to Fernando Montiel. Hasegawa (29-4) was dominant for four rounds, then got caught with a big shot that he couldn’t survive.
HH controlled all the early going with his neat in and out movement, slappy southpaw jab and piston straight lefts to the head and body. Jhonny Gonzalez (48-7) didn’t land anything of note until the 3rd round, with a big left hook to the Japanese man’s temple. Hasegawa still took that round in my book, simply based on activity.
HH’s tendency to rely on his in and out movement at the expense of high hands caught up with him with two minutes to go in the 4th, when Gonzalez dropped a bomb of a looping right hand right on his chin. HH struggled up, but clearly was in no state to continue and the fight was stopped.
Before this bout, there was a school of thought that HH’s loss to Montiel was something of a fluke. No more. Gonzalez is powerful, but not nearly as crafty as Montiel. I doubt he was biding his time the whole bout, but when he saw an opportunity, he took it.
This will be a serious blow to HH’s stock. The punch that dropped him a big shot from a big puncher, but after losing in the same manner twice, it’d be fair to question his chin. I don’t really see many options for the guy. He may have a hard time luring prospects or fringe contender to Japan for what would still be a very tough out, but seems unable to take the heat against real contenders.
He’s a small featherweight, but it seems his chin might be an issue regardless of what the scale says. He could conceivably drop to junior feather for some all-Japan match ups with Ring Magazine top three Toshiaki Nishioka (who won his fight against Mauricio Munoz), Akifumi Shimoda and Ryol Li Lee. Or he could just avoid fighting Mexicans ever again.
Also: Japanese Corona girls, not as hot as Mexican ones.