Colombian slugger Breidis Prescott might need another new nickname. "The Khanqueror" saw his career hit a wall in the main event of last night's ESPN2 Friday Night Fights from Las Vegas, as he was outboxed, frustrated and frankly schooled by the unheralded Miguel Vazquez.
Prescott (21-1, 18 KO) burst onto the global scene and into many lightweight top tens with his one-round thrashing of Amir Khan last September in Manchester. He fought again in February against Humberto Toledo, winning rather unimpressively by disqualification when the veteran Toledo bit him in the final round.
But last night all his bad habits showed up, and he never got his power game truly rolling against Vazquez (25-3, 12 KO), a young man with a lot of experience for his age. BoxRec.com doesn't list his birth date, but Joe Tessitore said he was 22 (or it may have been 23). It was his fourth straight win and by far the biggest of his career.
Vazquez used slippery technique and great counter timing to score the upset, which was semi-called by ESPN commentator Teddy Atlas and also by former 154-pound titlist and "Contender" champion Sergio Mora, who was in the building, sat in for a round of the main event, and has sparred with Vazquez in the past. Mora described him as a guy with really funky timing that he "hated" sparring, and that's exactly who showed up against Prescott.
It's a major bump in the road for Prescott, who seemed a pretend to begin with. He struggled at times with Toledo, a guy who has been knocked out in the past, and against whom he had a big size advantage. Vazquez was a late sub after Ray Narh dropped out of this fight, and this is not the end of the line for Prescott by any means, but further advancement will require genuine improvement in his game. He too often fights entirely looking to land the home run punch, which he has in his arsenal, but a solid boxer can make him pay for bad misses, and that's what Vazquez did all night long.
The win was a split decision, with one ringside judge inexplicably scoring it 97-92 for Prescott. That card is hard to excuse, but in the end the right guy won. Vazquez did hit the canvas in the first round, but after that he largely dominated the bout in my view. He won the other two cards, 95-94 and 96-93.
On the undercard, it was a night for the Cuban defectors. Top prospect Erislandy Lara (7-0, 4 KO) continued to impress with a six-round decision win over veteran Darnell Boone (16-12-2, 6 KO). I hope no one thinks less of Lara after this for failing to knock out Boone, who nearly upset Craig McEwan just three weeks ago and has lost to a lot of good fighters. He's been matched as an opponent his entire career and nearly pulled out a couple of surprising wins. He was a really good test for Lara in his seventh fight, and he gave him some very important rounds. Lara won 60-54 (twice) and 59-55.
Guillermo Rigondeaux (2-0, 2 KO) scored the knockout of the night, and it would've likely won that title even if it hadn't been the only stoppage. Rigondeaux stopped Robert Guillen (4-3-2, 0 KO) on a laser beam of a body shot that put Guillen in total agony momentarily in the first round. Guillen made his return to the ring in May with two fights after 10 years off due to a prison term.
Yudel Johnson (2-0, 1 KO) took a four-round decision over Justin Paulo (1-1, 0 KO) in the other televised bout. Johnson unloaded with big shots in a dominant first round, but Paulo took them all pretty well. Johnson showed real discipline laying off the gas, even it meant not stopping Paulo in his first televised bout.
Also in attendance at the card were Mike Tyson and Joel Casamayor, the latter there to root on his fellow Cubans. And as an aside, if the next time we get a Cuban-heavy ESPN2 card someone could tell Joe Tessitore to slow down on saying "the communist regime," that'd be nice. He drilled that into the ground tonight.
Elsewhere Around the World: In Mexico, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. stayed unbeaten with a second round KO of Cecilio Santos. On the same card, Jonathan Cepeda improved to 6-0 (5) with a sixth round stoppage of Vladimir Laguna. ... In Redondo Beach, heavyweight also-rans Lance "Mount" Whitaker and Danny Batchelder went head-to-head, with the 6'8" Whitaker taking a 10-round unanimous decision. Whitaker is now 33-5-1 with 27 KOs. Batchelder falls to 25-7-1 (12).