Running Undercard Results For Miguel Cotto Vs. Austin Trout

NEW YORK CITY — Arriving slightly late here in storied Madison Square Garden. Usually cards start at 6 p.m., but this one kicked off earlier. Bad planning, Starks. Some have criticized this undercard and I can see why, but I like attending all live fights, so I intend to catch the remainder of them, anyway. As I haven't given up on middleweight Daniel Jacobs — knockout loss, stomach tumor, whatever, I saw a worthy talent — I'm interested to observe his progress since he returned to the ring. The other highlights include the Showtime debut of Jayson Velez against fellow featherweight Salvador Sanchez, Jr., plus an appearance from always-entertaining junior featherweight Jorge Diaz. We go in reverse chronological order:

Jayson Velez made easy work of Salvador Sanchez II, and so easy was it — easier even than on paper — you wonder whether Velez would've been better off facing top-10 worthy junior featherweight Billy Dib, who was boring on HBO that one time but at least can fight a little. Sanchez was hopeless in there; it was like, even in sparring, nobody had even thrown a combination at him, because every combination froze him and the majority of the shots got through. The 1st round was a wipeout, the 2nd round was a wipeout with a knockdown on a florry, the 3rd round was an uppercut-initiated knockdown followed by a stoppage from the referee. So Velez looked powerful and sharp and fast against Sanchez, but what does that tell us about how he'd do against anyone else? Almost nothing, sadly. Apparently he's in line to fight Daniel Ponce De Leon, and I simply have no idea how he would fare against that hard-nosed vet based on this performance. I'm guessing it'd be good for however long it lasted.

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Danny Jacobs started slow in the latest bout of his comeback, but eventually started putting punches together in a way that led Chris Fitzpatrick to quit at the end of the 5th round. The restless crowd was booing by the end of the 2nd, so cautious was Jacobs, against whom Fitzgerald was moving forward but little else. I don't think he ever landed a clean punch in the fight, or at least a meaningful one. Compubox said he landed 44, which is 44 more than I saw. Jacobs never really hurt Fitzgerald, which makes me wonder what kind of chin Fitzgerald has, or whether Jacobs doesn't hit all that hard at 168. But that 5th round was a landslide of accurate punching, and Fitzgerald was taking the kind of punishment that would made me, as his corner, consider throwing in the towel. Fitzgerald made the decision for them, apparently. Jacobs has a ways to get back to the contender level — his slow start, so-so power and somewhat diminished speed point to that — and has plenty of time to build back up his level of competition, as he's still at a prime or pre-prime age of 25.

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Jorge Melendez, who is angling for a showdown with junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo, got a 5th round stoppage of James Winchester, whose fleshy body, unique survival skills and knack for guerrilla warfare graced ShoBox recently. He couldn't survive against Melendez, obviously; you typically don't get 23 knockouts in your previous 24 wins if you can't punch a little, and Melendez could. A 4th round knockdown on a right hand to the temple began Winchester's troubles, and a slip in the 5th where he appeared to hurt a leg exacerbated them. Melendez stalked down the immoble Winchester and punched him until the referee stepped in, in what was not a terrible stoppage given how much difficult Winchester had rising to his feet after that slip. I guess this guy makes as much sense for Angulo as anyone else; he's got punching power, but he also lost to occasional spoiler Doel Carrasquillo in 2010, so he might have an air of danger that is little more than air for a top notch guy.

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The book on lightweight Jeffrey Fontanez coming in was that he was a power puncher, and he did nothing to contradict the book with a 2nd round knockout of Pedro Arcos. He caught him early in the 1st with a left hook that dropped him, had him hurt again later in the round, came right back in the 2nd to drop him with a right cross, and then finished him off with a left hook that draped Arcos over the bottom rope, apparently out cold. So, yes. This one is worth watching for, as he develops. This was just his ninth fight, though, so the usual caveats apply that punching with power in fight nine against the kind of opposition one usually faces in fight nine could turn out to be a bit illusory.

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Lightweight Michael Perez has to get hurt in all of his fights, apparently. The 2012 ShoBox staple suffered a knockdown to Fidel Maldanado, Jr. in his last bout, and got stopped by Omar Figueroa before that. He got knocked down Saturday in the 2nd by Fernando Carcamo by a counter left that caught him unawares, expecting as he was probably that he could capitalize on the knockdown HE scored against Carcamo in the 1st with a left hook, and the fact that Carcamo fell down twice in that round for absolutely no reason at all. Those swapped knockdowns made the fight instantly interesting. When Perez would sharpshoot, especially with his right cross, then go back into a shell, he'd win rounds. When Carcamo would invest in body punching, he would win rounds. Perez won more, though, and would've won on the scorecards even without the extra 8th round knockdown he scored via a left/right combo. Perez, who took the decision, remains sporadically fun, with his tendency to get more aggressive than he should, costing him competitively but making his fights a bit more dramatic.

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Despite himself, Jorge Diaz is still Jorge Diaz. The all-action junior featherweight came out in the 1st round trying to defend himself for once, and it actually kind of worked. But as the fight wore on, his opponent, Victor Sanchez, began predicting where Diaz would duck his head and punching into it, and Diaz lacked the reflexes to dodge often enough in those circumstances, leading to flush connects. Sanchez is 3-4-1, so that's not a good sign for Diaz' abilities to improve his defense all that substantially. However, as is always the case with Diaz, whether he defends himself very welll or not is not the point, and, in fact, might even inhibit his appeal if he does. The guy is all slugger. Diaz scored a 1st round knockdown on a right hand, but no matter how much he hit Sanchez after that Sanchez was still there slugging with him. You could've maybe given Sanchez the 6th and final round, but Diaz rallied over the second half, using the tactic known as "throwing a shitload of punches," his favorite tactic. The judges saw Diaz winning every round. I'll watch Diaz anytime he fights no matter whether he wins or loses.

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The fight I missed was John Thompson winning a six-round decision over Eli Agustama. I came in midway through Bronx product Eddie Gomez beating Luis Hernandez in what was a spirited six-round scrap. Gomez controlled the action from what I saw, but Hernandez, who also came to the fight undefeated, gave him enough heat to make it so he probably learned some things. They swung after the bell in one round, and Gomez lost a point for low blows in the final round, but overall he was better defensively, a little sharper all around, and got off first more often than not. He did not at any point do what some of his fans seemed to be asking for, which was, "Knock that nigga out" or "Lick your lips, nigga," although he did a lot of mugging for his 14 fans. All of men in the first two fights were junior middleweights, btw.

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., where he is a staff writer for CQ Roll Call.

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