Tonight's edition of ShoBox: The New Generation went half as expected, but the other half did show us the interesting look at a still-developing fighter that the program was originally intended to regularly bring to the airwaves.
In the main event, Omar Figueroa demolished an overwhelmed Ramon Ayala in the second round, sending him crashing to the canvas after a rather jaw-dropping finishing blitz of offense. Figueroa, as we discussed in the fight thread, is a strange case. He seems like a guy with mental issues, but so far he doesn't fight like one, and his natural killer instinct is fantastic.
When he gets rolling on offense, he is a tornado of power punches, and tough for anyone to contain thus far. Tonight's win wasn't as impressive as his January beatdown of Michael Perez, because Perez is better than Ayala, but he showed his in-ring strengths again tonight. He is damn fun to watch, and he fights to knock people out.
Figueroa improves to 15-0-1 (12 KO), while Ayala falls to 23-3-1 (11 KO).
The co-feature started slow, as super bantamweight Randy Caballero cruised to an early lead, but then the prospect's flaws began to show up, and the fight turned interesting in a hurry as veteran Jose Luis Araiza came out of his shell and made a fight of it.
Caballero (14-0, 7 KO) ultimately won on scores of 98-92, 98-92, and 97-93, fighting in what is effectively his home venue at this point, but the fight was closer than those scores indicate. Bad Left Hook scored it a 95-95 draw, and it probably was easier to score the fight for Araiza than it is to explain 98-92 for Caballero.
Araiza (29-6-1, 20 KO) started coming alive in the fifth round, landing a few good shots late, and after that, he appeared to get into Caballero's head and keep him off balance, landing a lot of good, solid counter shots, as well as looping blows that may not have done a ton of damage, but were legitimate scoring shots, while Caballero found himself fighting a tentative style that didn't serve him very well.
From a pure scouting standpoint, I can take a few things from this fight:
- Caballero is way, way too easy to counter. It's not like Araiza is some gem of a technician.
- Caballero seemed to lose focus here. The commentary suggested he may have been lulled into vulnerability, and that might in fact have been the case.
- Caballero has a lot to work on still. Like, a lot, even for a guy with 14 pro fights, considering he's got the connections and is being pushed as a top prospect.
Caballero does have talent, but so do a lot of guys who never quite live up to their early billing. I think his stock took a real hit tonight -- not that he can't come out next time, make adjustments, fight great, and all but erase this iffy performance. But that's what he has to do now.