(Hugo Centeno, Jr. pops Keandre Leatherwood; photo credit: Tom Casino, Showtime)
You would think that if one boxer beat another by a near shutout, he'd walk away shiny and glorious, especially if he was a prospect facing his most difficult opponent to date on ShoBox. Yet, Friday on Showtime's prospect-featuring program, junior middleweight Hugo Centeno, Jr. handled Keandre Leatherwood with relative ease on the scorecards but came out with a slightly dinged up rep.
That's OK. This was an awkward style match-up that showed some work Centeno needed to do if he's to beat superior physical specimens, which is another of the ideas of the program — ShoBox is not a prospect showcase, ideally, as much as it's a proving grounds for talented youngsters. Both Centeno and Leatherwood have talent (Centeno had won acclaim as a sparring partner for the likes of Peter Quillin and Paulie Malignaggi), but neither have yet to harness it. The fight showed they had more to prove, and this is the kind of lesson a boxer can use to grow on.
Leatherwood was faster, and, when he landed solid shots, landed them better and more accurately. Centeno, though, was more active, and held a better grasp on that elusive "ring generalship," and at least early, appeared to be the better technical fighter who worked a sharp jab. As the fight wore on, though, Centeno got a bit sloppier, and some smart boxing writers on Twitter attributed some of his shortcomings to a lack of physical strength on a gangly frame. Leatherwood's penchant for holding also contributed. In the end, Centeno came out with a unanimous decision where there was an argument for Leatherwood winning a round or two, but the danger Leatherwood flashed with his speed and accuracy never mounted into a full-throated threat.
On the undercard, Braulio Santos made a much more definitive impression against Kevin Hoskins, blitzing him for a stoppage win in less than a minute. The featherweights felt each other out very briefly before Santos sneaked a powerful left hook between Hoskins' gloves that wobbled him badly, and followed it up with a series of punches before another left hook rendered his upper and lower body paralyzed in sequence. He rose, but was too unsteady to continue. Showtime's broadcasting team got all hot and bothered over Santos' win, and it was his best win to date, but it also was just his 10th win and 1st round knockouts can be fluky. That said, it was far from a bad thing, and it was the kind of showing that would make folk want to see more of Santos before long.