Editor's Note: This is a rare instance where I'll run a "spoilers" tag on the front page and not just post the results. Though I intended to cover the full card live this morning, a private matter beyond my control came up and I had to attend to that first, which is why we left off at Gradovich-Munoz. Since this post came so close to the HBO2 replay, I thought it would be sort of a dick move to, if you'd avoided the "spoilers" all day, just throw them at you an hour before. - Scott
Zou Shiming was supposedly going to fight "more like a pro," which ostensibly meant fighting to finish his opponent. He gets points for going toe-to-toe today in his second pro fight, as unintimidated novice Jesus Ortega of Mexico lived up to his own promise to bring the fight to the two-time Olympic gold medalist.
In the end, Shiming (2-0, 0 KO) won on scores of 59-55 across the board in his six-round main event. Trainer Freddie Roach was happier with this performance than Zou's April debut, a four-round decision win, though Roach did thing Zou stayed in the pocket too much, which, I dunno, what exactly does roach want Shiming to do? Because he's not going to suddenly become better than he is. This is how good at he is at this type of fight. April was how good he was at that type of fight. He's a 32-year-old fighter with years and years of his amateur training pounded into his head. There aren't going to be wholesale changes.
Anyway, Shiming was solid again, but there are two things that give me pause about him becoming a serious player: he's really not that good, or at least not so good as the hype and the main events would lead one to believe, and these aren't, like, abnormal challenges for early pro fights. They're taking on really low-end opponents right now. The idea is in theory to move him quickly, and sure, he may take a big leap in opposition next fight, or the one after that, or whatever. But is this going to be an actual top fighter at flyweight, or just a national star, likely protected, in a budding boxing economy? That's still an open question.
In the night's co-feature, Juan Francisco Estrada retained his WBA and WBO flyweight titles with a competitive win over Milan Melindo, with the official scores 118-109, 118-109, and 117-109. The fight was a bit closer than those scores make it seem, but they aren't crazy, it's just sort of what happens if Estrada is given all the rounds that maybe could have gone either way, and that happens.
Melindo (29-1, 12 KO) did, I believe, prove he's a legit flyweight contender, but Estrada (25-2, 18 KO) is really on a roll right now, and seems like the type of young fighter at age 23 who might just keep getting better. It's unlikely that he's fully matured or reached his peak, and fights like this, his April win over Brian Viloria, and last year's valiant loss to Roman Gonzalez can't help but make him a better, more well-rounded fighter.
Melindo did well early in the fight, though apparently not as well as some observers believed, but he faded late, and Estrada scored an 11th round knockdown and nearly another in the 12th and final round. It's a good win for Estrada, but despite the scores, keep an eye on Melindo. He looks like he'll be back if he makes a few tweaks.