This was a pretty active weekend for the sweet science, in which several highly-regarded prospects saw action.
In the weekend's headliner, from Miami, Florida, Edison "Pantera" Miranda made the best of his HBO debut, scoring an impressive 1st round stoppage over Willie Gibbs. Only 20 punches were landed in the fight, so, all in all, we weren't really able to wage Miranda's skills. He has been said to be lacking in defense, which is something that may hurt him were he to face guys like Taylor, Wright or Calzaghe. We did witness Miranda's punching power, but we already knew he had that. In any case, it was a great performance, and Miranda is a force to be reckoned with. I think he'll own a middleweight belt next year.
The HBO undercard was supposed to be a coming out party for all-American boy Jason Litzau, who came in with a record of 20-0 (18KOs). But his relatively unknown opponent, Jose Hernandez, had other plans. Hernandez floored Litzau in the opening round with a straight right hand, and then proceeded to lose the next six rounds. In the eight, Hernandez flurried again, and knocked Litzau out with an overhand right. Litzau had the fight won, but decided to ignore his cornerman's requests that he box from a distance. It seemed as though he was trying to knock Hernandez out, and his cockiness cost him the fight. With this, Litzau becomes the second highly-regarded prospect to fall on his HBO Boxing After Dark debut this year, along with Joel "Love Child" Julio, who was completely outclassed by Carlos Quintana in July.
I wasn't able to watch the HBO Card live (I watched the replay last night) because I was at pretty solid fight card here in Puerto Rico.
In the co-featured fight, rising Puerto Rican featherweight prospect Jonathan Oquendo improved to 12-0 (7KOs) with a very impressive first-round stoppage over former world champ Alejandro Montiel (53-8). Look for Oquendo, who is promoted by Golden Boy, to continue to rise in 2007.
In the main event, Puerto Rican Jose "Carita" Lopez (34-7, 29KOs) won a majority decision over Juan Alberto Rosas. Rosas, who hails from Mexico, came in with an undefeated record of 25-0 (22KOs), and ranked as a top-10 flyweight by both the WBA and the WBC. With the victory, Lopez probably positions himself for one last title shot. He has had five previous shots at the flyweight title, and has lost them all. Nonetheless, he has now won 12 straight fights since suffering his last defeat to Fernando Montiel in 2001.
In other action around the globe, lightweight prospect Jorge Paez Jr. improved his record to 12-0 (8KOs) over Rafael Urias, who sports a record of 2-14-1. Paez Jr. has stayed very active over the year, but it seems as though it's time for him to step up his level of opposition. (Comparatively, Jonathan Oquendo, who is in a similar stage of his career, fought a 53-8 former titlist in Alejandro Montiel).
In Seoul, Korea, In Jin Chi recaptured the WBC featherweight belt he lost earlier this year, defeating Roldolfo Lopez of Mexico by unanimous decision.
In Europe, former long-reigning Cruiserweight titlist Juan Carlos Gomez (40-1, 34KOs) defeated Brazilian Daniel Frank in a heavyweight match. This was Gomez's first fight since failing a post-fight drug test after defeating Oliver McCall. Gomez, who hails from Cuba, has fought almost exclusively in Europe throughout his career, so is relatively unkown in the US, despite having been an exciting cruiserweight champ for many years.
Lastly, former top middleweight contender Howard Eastmann made a succesful comeback, defeating Ricard Williams by a 12th round TKO. Eastmann (41-4, 35KOs), who regained the British Middleweight Title, had lost his three previous fights (which were against Bernard Hopkins, Arthur Abraham and Edison Miranda, respectively). He has always been considered a top contender, but has failed to win the big fight. All four of his losses have come in title shots.
Tomorrow night, Joan Guzman will face Antonio Davis for the WBO junior lightweight title in the Dominican Republic. I might be able to watch the fight, and if I do, I'll do some coverage on it. So stay tuned for that.