(Shawn Porter, left, connects on Alfonso Gomez; photo via Showtime)
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Shawn Porter of Cleveland, Ohio had to work through some difficulties, including cuts near both eyes, in order to notch a unanimous decision Saturday on Showtime over former reality boxing star Alfonso Gomez of Guadalajara, Mexico in their 10 round welterweight bout.
The fight began with some great action in the 1st round as the two fighters got into some nice exchanges. Porter staggered Gomez a bit and did some damage with his opponent on the ropes, but Gomez came back to land some solid shots before the end of the round. Porter suffered a cut on the right eye.
Gomez began landing the right hand in the 2nd round but Porter’s speed was good enough to win the round as he landed some flashy punches at higher regularity.
The speed differential was big enough that Porter was often able to land multiple punches before Gomez was able to respond. Gomez was taking the shots well and he showed a strong will in closing most of the early rounds well, landing some solid shots of his own.
Porter started widening the gap in the 5th as he bullied Gomez against the ropes and landed some devastating shots. It looked as though the fight was nearly over until Gomez came back with a couple ofbody shots that backed Gomez up a bit.
Gomez landed some big shots but just didn’t show the kind of power that was going to be able to back Porter off. Gomez did his best work to the body, often after Porter was done unleashing as much punishment as he could with Gomez on the defense.
Another cut opened up above the left eye of Porter in round 9 and the doctor took a look but allowed it to continue. Gomez looked visibly tired in the round but was spurred on a bit by the blood.
Porter’s cut was again examined to start the final round but was allowed to continue and the two fought a spirited final three minutes with Porter looking like he had a bit more left in the tank. Scores were 98-92, 97-93, and 96-94 in favor of Porter.
In making his second fight on American soil, highly touted super middleweight contender George Groves (15-0, 12 KOs) of Hammersmith, England showed the American audience an ability to give an entertaining fight, as he stopped Mexican Francisco Sierra (24-6-1, 22 KOs) in the 6th round of their scheduled 10 round fight. The fight headlined the Showtime Extreme undercard and gave American fight fans their first taste of Groves.
Both fighters landed their share of solid power punches in the 1st, with Groves showing a bit more in terms of boxing ability. Groves began to work in some good combinations in the 2nd, landing a variety of uppercuts and hooks while in the center of the ring.
Groves suffered a bad cut in the 3rd, likely resulting from a clash of heads. The two engaged in an absolute war over the final minute, throwing wild haymakers with Groves’ often getting there better.
Sierra’s right eye began to swell in the 4th as the two engaged in more toe-to-toe action. Groves landed some great overhand rights in the round but is leaving himself open for Sierra to land something big.
Groves started countering Sierra extremely well in the 5th, exploiting the lack of speed Sierra brought with his wild shots. Sierra started to show signs of wearing down in the round.
Groves landed a vicious combination in the 6th which was ended by a left hook, sending Sierra down in a heap. Sierra got up and was allowed to continue, only to take a few more flush bombs before referee Ray Balowicz stopped the fight at 2:15.
Groves’ projected September date with Kenny Anderson in a rematch will likely not go through considering the cut that Groves suffered. Commentator Barry Tompkins relayed that he sees a lot of potential in Groves after the fight, also noting how the crowd reacted positively to his performance.
Groves trainer Adam Booth told TQBR after the fight that he will likely be out of his projected September date at Wembley Stadium against Kenny Anderson in a rematch for Groves’ British super middleweight title. Booth told TQBR that he felt Groves is beyond that level of competition anyways and there is nothing to gain from fighting Anderson, who Booth said got the mandatory position by virtue of Groves beating everyone else out there.
The first fight was maybe the best scrap on British soil in 2010 with Groves overcoming being badly hurt to stop Anderson in the 6th round. Booth thinks that Groves fighting Sierra will make him more aware of his need to fight on the upper level rather than dip back down to the domestic circuit. Though Groves turned in an impressive finish, he showed an ability to be hit by the much slower-footed Sierra, who plays a lot like a super middleweight version of Marcos Maidana.
21-year old Oxnard, Calif. junior middleweight prospect Hugo Centeno Jr. (15-0, 8 KOs) notched his most impressive victory to date in defeating Albany, N.Y. journeyman Ayi Bruce (22-7, 14 KOs) by unanimous decision.
Centeno buzzed Bruce early in the 1st round and was able to tee off on him in the corner for nearly the remainder of the round, landing some flashy power shots. After Centeno won the 2nd round easy, Bruce came back in the 3rd after eating some more power shots to land some good overhand shots of his own, though Centeno probably edged it.
The pace slowed to a crawl in the 4th as Centeno kept the fight in the middle of the ring, throwing a jab against the raised gloves of Bruce. Centeno worked in some solid shots to the body in the 5th as Bruce mostly followed him around without throwing much. The fight devolved into a sparring session in the 6th and never really got back on track as Centeno marched to the decision win. Scores were 80-72 twice and 79-73.
Fairfield, Calif. junior featherweight Manuel Avila (8-0, 2 KOs) bested Raymond Chacon (4-4) of Northridge, Calif. by unanimous decision in their four-round fight. Lots of hugging in this one and Avila didn’t look as sharp as he has in some of his other performances. Scores were 40-36 and 39-37 twice.
Delano, Calif. middleweight Paul Mendez won a six-round unanimous decision over Inglewood, Calif.’s Leshon Sims in an entertaining fight. Mendez prevailed via scores of 59-55 on all three judges’ cards.
Al Haymon-signed heavyweight Gerald Washington (1-0, KO) made quick work of Glendale, Ariz.’s Blue Delong (0-4), stopping him in a complete squash at 2:36 of the 1st round. Washington is 30 years of age and needs to get to work quickly if he intends to make a splash as a pro fighter, and with Haymon as an ally that should prove to not be so difficult. Washington is a former football player.
Mark Ortega can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com and followed via Twitter at www.twitter.com/MarkEOrtega. Mark also contributes to renowned boxing publications RING Magazine and Boxing Monthly, and is a member of the Boxing Writer’s Association of America and RING Ratings Advisory Panel.