Undercard Results For Yuriorkis Gamboa Vs. Daniel Ponce De Leon

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — This undercard for Yuriorkis Gamboa-Daniel Ponce De Leon, on paper, is nearly as insignificant as an undercard gets. But maybe it’ll produce some good action, if the opening bout is any indication.

Angel Rios walked to the ring in full Apollo Creed-from-Rocky IV regalia, then proceeded to go to war with lightweight prospect Terrance Crawford. Unlike in Rocky IV, Rios didn’t get killed, and indeed, had some very nice moments. Crawford has 11 knockouts in 14 wins against horrendous competition, but he hit Rios as flush as you can hit something and Rios stuck around, refusing to stop coming forward. That says something about whether Crawford’s power is all that, if it doesn’t say something about Rios’ beard; Rios is already scheduled to face Jose Benavidez next weekend, so he must’ve had some kind of confidence of emerging unscathed. He did get scathed, especially by Crawford’s uppercuts, to which he was committed to a ridiculous degree. He’s got some talent, does Crawford — it’s rare you see a fighter switch to southpaw and throw a right uppercut/right hook/right uppercut/right hook combo — but he also left himself vulnerable when on the attack, with a stationary head hung way in the air. He won by wide unanimous decision, but he had to really, really fight for it. Top Rank recently signed him, so look for him to appear on more undercards going forward.

You can watch the rest of the action Top Rank’s website, then confer with me on it. Or else you can just take my word for it. The rest of the rolling results will be posted below.

In the second fight of the night, new pro Miguel Cartagena went for the knockout with gusto from pretty much moment one against Cristian Cruz, throwing hard power shots — sometimes wildly — to get the 2nd round stoppage. If there was something I liked in Cartagena it’s that when he had Cruz hurt, he absolutely wouldn’t allow Cruz to hold. He shoved him off of him and went back to work on Cruz’ head and body. He finally dropped him in the 2nd, then the ref stopped the bout when Cruz got up but wouldn’t walk forward when he was asked. Cartagena, who’s a Puerto Rican-American, was a decorated amateur; this was only his 3rd pro fight.

Junior lightweight Luis Cruz nearly took Antonio Davis’ head off with two right uppercuts, the first one knocking him down in the 5th and the second one in the 6th ending Davis’ night as the stunned vet’s head dangled helplessly. So there are two stories here. One is that I’m very high on Cruz. He probably should’ve gotten Davis out of their earlier, since featherweight Jhonny Gonzalez took him out in two; I don’t think his power is top-notch, despite the picture-perfect knockout. But he’s calm, he’s defensively sound and he has an intelligent, aggressive offense. The second story is that Davis was brutalized far too long in the fight. It could’ve been stopped in the corner in the 4th, as Davis — with a cut on one eye and bags under both that made him look like a 50-year-old man (he’s 38) — spat blood. I wish Davis hadn’t stumbled around on bad legs all night long. But I hope Cruz figures into a bout against a top-10 junior lightweight soon. He’s ready.

In another war, Freddie Roach-trained welterweight prospect Wale Omotoso — who sometimes serves as a sparring partner to Manny Paquiao — made his Top Rank and U.S. debut, and although he got a 5th round stoppage, that stoppage was pretty bad and the win was far from easy. In the debut round of his double debut, he appeared fairly unhittable — until a counter left from Calvin Odom with his back to the ropes deposited Omotoso on the canvas. Suddenly an over-the-limit fight with a career-long junior middleweight seemed like a bad idea. Omotoso was shook up for the rest of the round and part of the 2nd, until he landed something hard enough to get Odom to back off; had Odom been a bit more aggressive prior to then, maybe the results were different. From there, Omotoso was basically in control, bulling the taller Odom into the ropes and firing savage combinations to the head and body, but Odom would still rocket in the periodic uppercut to keep things fun. In the 4th, Omotoso fired a bomb of an overhand left that put Odom on the ground. Omotoso somewhat sheepishly waited for the count, looking at the audience with a kind of, “Yeah, I know I messed up early, but see? I can do this” look Then he motioned to them to be quiet and pointed over to Odom with a motion that said to me, “OK, still got a ways to go. Watch me finish this.” He did, in the 5th, but it was a bad stoppage by referee Sparkle Lee. Odom did momentarily drop his hands after an Omotoso punch, but he got them back up a split second later and did not appear hurt. I rarely consider stoppages bad, so when Lee got booed, I didn’t have an issue with it. I did have an issue with Omotoso getting booed. Dude got a stoppage win he didn’t quite deserve, but he showed great heart coming back from a bad knockdown and was entertaining throughout. With a body as sculpted as any in boxing, the Nigerian-born Aussie has speed and power and is capable of defense, but this should be a wake-up call that he’s far from a finished work.

Lee got her second straight controversial ending, calling a second straight controversial technical knockout via — get this — a Jorge Diaz punch behind the head. The foul against Rafael Lora was exceptionally clear, and Lee appeared to recognize it as an illegal shot. Lora said he could not continue fighting; he did not appear by my view to be acting. If she had thought it was an intentional foul, she should have disqualified Diaz. If she thought it was accidental, the fight should have been ruled a no contest. That’s my reading of the rules. But Diaz got the TKO. If she thought he was acting, and that he had quit, maybe that’s a correct ruling? But again, she seemed to recognize that it was an illegal blow. Sparkle needs to get into a ref rehab program after a night like this. As for how the fight went: Diaz said he was trying to work on his defense, but it doesn’t seem to have taken just yet. He landed a lot of hard shots, more of them, and scored a legit knockdown in the 2nd when Lora turned his back on him and Diaz reached around and punched him in the front of his face. He might not ever get to “very good.” He will probably always be exciting. Too bad the result robbed us of a proper ending.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.