Antoine Douglas TKO-4 Les Sherrington
This didn't wind up being any sort of test for 23-year-old middleweight prospect Douglas (19-0-1, 13 KO), as he dropped Australia's Sherrington (35-8, 19 KO) five times -- once in both the first and second rounds, twice in the third, and again in the fourth, with Kenny Bayless stepping in to put an end to the fight there.
Douglas looked good here, but Sherrington just couldn't take his shots, and there's still work for Douglas to do. Still, he was sharp and poised, and showed some nice patience not overdoing it looking for the stoppage. He really let it come to him in this fight, waiting for opportunities to present themselves, and then taking advantage. Douglas showed some real poise and passed this test. It's worth wondering if it was much of a test at all, but he's young and there's time. 2016 could be a chance for him to go to the next level.
Here are a few highlights from the fight, courtesy Showtime:
Taras Shelestyuk UD-10 Aslanbek Kozaev
Kozaev (26-2-1, 7 KO) was very game to start this fight, but the talent levels showed pretty quickly, and Shelestyuk (13-0, 8 KO) took over the fight. He had trainer Robert Garcia threatening to pull Kozaev out of the fight in the middle rounds, but to the fighter's credit, Kozaev turned it back up and gave it a go in the final rounds. He was a solid prospect checker here, but was outlanded and outworked significantly over the 10 rounds.
Shelestyuk, 29, may not be quite a blue chip prospect, but he's a very solid fighter. Welterweight is a minefield, but someone like Alan Sanchez might be a nice next step, and a fighter like Aron Martinez would be a great and dangerous test in 2016, too. Who knows if those are realistic fights because I'm starting to lose track of who's with Al Haymon and who's not, but those are ideas I had.
Keenan Smith UD-8 Benjamin Whitaker
BLH had this one 77-75 for Smith (9-0, 3 KO), who was fighting just six weeks after the passing of his mother, dedicating the fight to her. He had moments where he was really effective, but the term "herky jerky style" came up repeatedly. Whitaker (10-2, 2 KO) was in the fight all the way, but went down (questionably) in round seven and didn't have much of an argument for the win. A decent showing for Smith, 25, who will likely be back in a position like this again.
Official scores were 78-74, 78-74, and 79-73.
Also, this happened:
Samuel Teah UD-8 O'Shaquie Foster
Foster (8-1, 5 KO) was the favored fighter here, an amateur standout with clearly the more hype from the SHO machine, but he was just totally flat in this fight, outworked over eight rounds en route to his first pro loss on scores of 77-75, 77-75, and 79-73. Punch stats were probably close enough to support the 77-75 scores, but I had this one 80-72 for Teah (7-1, 2 KO), and only thought about giving Foster two of the rounds. Teah was just consistently a bit better in every round to me, so while I didn't see this as a blowout, runaway 8-0 score, it was 8-0 nonetheless on my card. Maybe that's crazier than 5-3. Who knows? Life is a mystery.
Either way you fall on the 5-3/8-0 debate, the great controversy of our time, Foster was just not impressive in this fight, his ShoBox debut, and the loss really hurts. Teah didn't look like a star in the making, either, but he was steadier, worked harder, and looked a lot sharper. It's worth noting it's a cool night in Las Vegas (a bit under 60 degrees) and that these guys are fighting outdoors. Also worth noting that SHO's Steve Farhood said he saw Foster eating spaghetti and meatballs three hours before the fight, carbo loading a la Michael Scott before the rabies fun run.