Tonight at 10 pm EST on truTV, Top Rank's Friday Night Knockout is back for a third straight week, with 23-year-old junior welterweight contender/prospect Jose Benavidez Jr (22-0, 15 KO) headlining at home in Phoenix in a 12-round bout against Mexican veteran Jorge Paez Jr (38-5-2, 23 KO).
Benavidez is coming off of a highly controversial win over Mauricio Herrera in December, when the Las Vegas judges gave him scores of 116-112, 116-112, and 117-111. Many observers had the fight essentially the exact opposite, with Herrera winning on those type of scores. Tonight, Benavidez looks to do a little better as he "defends" the interim WBA 140-pound title.
Paez, 27, has been in the pro ranks for a decade now, and has never really stood apart from the time he weighed just under 144 pounds for a bout in June 2009, and returned four months later weighing in at 168 pounds for another fight. He does have a win over Jose Luis Castillo, which says more about where Castillo was by 2011, and he's beaten Omar Chavez twice. Weigh-in reports yesterday said that Paez looked drawn and weak on the scales, which probably isn't that big of a surprise -- he hasn't actually made 140 pounds since 2008, and has been campaigning as a full-fledged welterweight for years now.
In what may really be the more interesting fight of the night, Antonio Orozco (21-0, 15 KO) will meet Emmanuel Taylor (18-3, 12 KO) in a 10-round junior welterweight co-feature. Orozco, 27, went 3-0 last year with wins over veterans Miguel Huerta, Martin Honorio, and Steve Forbes. Taylor, 24, went 1-2 last year, beating Karim Mayfield between losses to Chris Algieri and Adrien Broner, and Taylor was probably more competitive against Broner than he was Algieri, giving "The Problem" problems in September, though Broner did deserve the W.
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Jose Benavidez Jr defeats Jorge Paez Jr by TKO (0:21 of round 12)
Antonio Orozco defeats Emmanuel Taylor by unanimous decision (96-94, 96-94, 98-92)
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ROUND BY ROUND
JOSE BENAVIDEZ JR VS JORGE PAEZ JR
Round 1: Benavidez with jabs from range, then he fires a right hand and Paez ties him up. Benavidez hurts Paez already a little bit. Benavidez patient on the outside, he's got a lot of reach against Paez, looks like even more than the official three inches. Benavidez moves forward, Paez moves back and makes him miss a few shots in a row. Jabs from Benavidez. Paez has done F-all in the first 2:30. Benavidez's right whistles past Paez's head, as does the left hook behind it. Jab from Benavidez lands. Cautious round, mostly. Benavidez 10-9
Round 2: Paez starting to pressure now about halfway into the round, pushing Benavidez to the ropes. He may have tried to lull Benavidez to sleep. Paez getting rough and banging away, and Benavidez lands an uppercut. Uppercut from Paez, popping shots to the ears. Paez really putting the work in, but eats another uppercut. Two left hooks to the body from Paez. Benavidez just STANDING THERE on the ropes, and finally he spins out and lands a right hand shot. Right hand from Benavidez. Paez 10-9, 19-19
Round 3: Paez takes a body shot and he takes a knee. That might be the beginning of the end. Benavidez looking to close the show, Paez grapples him and hugs away hard. Right hand Benavidez. Right hand again Benavidez. Paez staying outside and surviving, and Benavidez isn't going nuts and making a mistake. He also isn't going for the jugular, is another way to look at it. Paez has recovered well enough by the final minute to shoot a couple shots to the body. But Benavidez smacks him with some long shots again. Benavidez 10-8, 29-27
Round 4: Benavidez jabbing again to start this round. Rights and lefts landing, power shots from both sides. Left hook from Paez does land, but doesn't budge Benavidez. Halfway into this round, a calculated performance from Benavidez. Couple of shots from Benavidez to the side of the head. Benavidez backs himself to the ropes, lands an uppercut to the body, and gets away this time. Another round for the young man, who lands a good left at the end of the round. Benavidez 10-9, 39-36
Round 5: Paez working again to start the round, and he puts Benavidez on the ropes, where he once again stays as Paez looks to work the body. This time Benavidez fires a couple back and eats less. Benavidez gets off, and goes back to the middle of the ring. Benavidez once again cautiously and easily controlling the action. Benavidez lands a combination, mostly jabbing and pecking away this round. Paez with a late charge, not much there. Benavidez 10-9, 49-45
Round 6: Benavidez takes himself back to the ropes a minute in and lays there. Paez's rudimentary pressure has given Benavidez no real trouble, but he doesn't respond terribly well to it. I mean, this might work against this dude, but a better fighter might make him pay. And that's a bad habit to have. Benavidez sharpshooting with both hands and spins himself off the ropes. Now just throwing goofy uppercuts as he walks himself to the other side of the ring to lay against the ropes. Paez trying to work while there, but Benavidez ripes away with shots to the head, rocking Paez's skull around. Paez tries to flurry back, but Benavidez lands a few more. Benavidez 10-9, 59-54
Round 7: Benavidez fires a right hand to the body as Paez aggressively clinches him, and it strays low, apparently. Ref rules it an accident, which it was. Benavidez back to the damn ropes. Benavidez with a couple good shots, Paez flurries but lands nothing. Short left hand from Benavidez snaps Paez's neck around, but he stands his ground there. Benavidez with an uppercut and a hook. Another hook to the head. Benavidez just standing on the ropes and landing good power shots. Right cross, and then another. Right hand again. Flurry from Benavidez, a couple shots land. Left to the body from Benavidez as he continues moving backwards and then goes back to the ropes. Benavidez 10-9, 69-63
Round 8: Benavidez comes out faster this round, which catches Paez by surprise. Left hooks to the body from Paez as Benavidez lays on the ropes once again. Paez flurrying with Benavidez back to the damn ropes yet again. Benavidez backs him down with a pair of shots. Paez hurt to the body, then Benavidez lands a hook upstairs. Benavidez moves to the center of the ring, then back to the ropes. Benavidez dominating again this round, even if he is just punching from the ropes over and over. This is a maddening performance from Benavidez. Yes, he's winning handily, but this is just not a good strategy. Benavidez 10-9, 79-72
Round 9: Benavidez turns southpaw to start this round. Mancini balks at a pointless idea. Benavidez fights southpaw the entire round and looks awful as a southpaw, but at least he doesn't just stand on the ropes this way. Paez couldn't do anything about Benavidez's lousy southpaw act, though. Benavidez 10-9, 89-91
Round 10: Paez's corner asks if he wants them to stop it between rounds. Sadly, they don't. Mancini scouts Benavidez: "Talented guy, gets lazy, lays against the ropes." More of the same this round. This is not an interesting fight other than foreseeing future Benavidez losses. Benavidez 10-9, 99-90
Round 11: Paez eats an uppercut on the way in as Benavidez walks himself to the ropes yet again. Mancini to Bradley: "Guys like yourself and other experienced fighters would chew him up on the ropes." Benavidez continues to nail him from distance, and when he backs himself to the ropes, and wherever else. Paez is as thoroughly mediocre as he's always been, he presents no challenge for Benavidez, and as such Benavidez can win an entire fight handily with a terrible strategy. Benavidez 10-9, 109-99
Round 12: Benavidez comes out firing, right hand, left hook, Paez is down. Referee stops it when Paez fails to respond after getting up. Benavidez TKO-12
ANTONIO OROZCO vs EMMANUEL TAYLOR
Round 1: Orozco shoots to the body, smothers himself going in too far, then starts flicking out his jab. Jab to the body from Orozco, Taylor lands a straight right, a touching shot. Jab down the pipe from Orozco and back to the body. Right to the body from Orozco. Combo from Orozco, then Taylor with a left hook and an uppercut. Hook again from Taylor. Orozco ripping to the body early in the final minute. Another hook to the body from Orozco. Taylor uses his forearm to try and back Orozco up a bit, but Orozco doesn't care. Orozco's pressure taking this round, but Taylor landed some shots, including another left uppercut that just got through late. Orozco 10-9
Round 2: Orozco starts round two like a bat out of hell, winging shots to the body and uppercuts behind them, and Taylor keeps his composure. Taylor firing back with body shots and uppercuts of his own, then he strays low with a left and gets a warning. Out of that break, and Orozco is pouring on the pressure again. Taylor mixing it up, too. Counter right hand from Orozco, and then he goes back to the body, rights and lefts. Lots of herky-jerky movement inside from Orozco. Right to the ribs from Orozco, then a right upstairs gets in as Taylor is throwing. This round is flying by as the two both open up, landing a good amount of shots. Orozco gets the better of it again. Orozco 10-9, 20-18
Round 3: Taylor is going to have to figure out some range and a way to keep Orozco from beating him up in the trenches. Taylor starting to do just that, jabbing and picking him off at range. When Orozco comes in, Taylor moves. Orozco does get in a body shot, and Taylor moves as soon as he sees Orozco coming in. Jab and a right hand from Orozco, and he looks like he's making his own quick adjustment. Right hand from Taylor after an uppercut from Orozco. Right hand from Taylor glancingly lands, then a left hook, then a right. Orozco ducks down into an uppercut. Taylor countering nicely this round, this is the better pace for him. Triple jab from Taylor, Orozco tries to throw under it. Double jab, right hand from Taylor. Nice round for him. Taylor 10-9, Orozco 29-28
Round 4: Right hand lands for Orozco about 30 seconds into the round, with Taylor once again moving. Left hook from Taylor almost knocks Orozco's mouthpiece out, as it dangles before he shoves it back in. Orozco with a right to the side of the head. This is settling into being a really tough, grueling fight, a nice clash of styles. Taylor makes Orozco miss a long right, then they wrestle a bit, and Taylor lands a hard uppercut. And then Orozco with a good right hand. Orozco waits for a counter shot, but nobody gets one in clean. Orozco's jab is working more this round and leading his aggression. Orozco warned for a low blow, and then he finishes the round strong with a good flurry of shots to the body and head. Orozco 10-9, 39-37
Round 5: Alright, let's see who makes the next adjustment. Right hand to the body. Kugler says that Taylor admitted to being hurt in the corner between rounds and that his corner told him to play defense this round. And Taylor is doing that. Orozco jabbing his way in, and it looks like he's realized that Taylor is laying back in this round, because he's moving forward with more aggression now. Taylor looking to pick away with counters, but Orozco throwing with him. Orozco just battering away as Taylor grabs his arm, including a couple shots to the side of the head. Easy Orozco round. Orozco 10-9, 49-46
Round 6: Taylor looking a little deflated in the corner between rounds. Orozco is starting to do a bit of a number on him. Taylor flicks a jab out, a little lazy, and Orozco pounces with a combination. Nothing big landing, but it sort of speaks to what's happening in this fight. Orozco with a right hand. Both guys land solid right hands, and Orozco puts Taylor on the ropes, whacking away at the body. Uppercut from Orozco grazes Taylor's chin. Whoa! Orozco gets hit and backs down a bit, but Taylor doesn't get on top of him. Taylor whacks away, and now Orozco comes back! Both guys throwing big shots this round! Taylor on the ropes and Orozco looks to bang away. Both guys expending a ton of energy this round. Right hand from Taylor. Taylor misses a wild shot, almost spins himself all the way around. Orozco back to the body, then a chopping right to the head. Now Orozco backs to the ropes and Taylor lands a left hook, and then a BIG! left hook! Right hand from Taylor, and both guys miss big shots at the end of the round! WOOO! Orozco had the volume, but Taylor the better, cleaner big shots in a round where both got rattled. Taylor 10-9, Orozco 58-56
Round 7: Taylor starts this round strong again, bopping away at Orozco, but Orozco comes back to bring it to the center of the ring. Orozco jabbing a little now. Right hand from Taylor, and he makes Orozco miss. Taylor keeping the distance he prefers. Left hand again from Taylor, the hook landing pretty consistently now. Orozco with a right hand. Orozco with a left hook now! Then back to the jab and a right, then a body shot. Left hook again from Orozco as this round winds down and gets closer. Right hand from Orozco, but he trips a bit and almost gets clipped falling forward. Taylor 10-9, Orozco 67-66
Round 8: Orozco fires out a jab right away, and then they just starting banging away in close, right in the middle of the ring. There's no way either of these guys have a ton left in their legs. Taylor backs Orozco into the corner and wings away, and Orozco gets out before anything big happens. Taylor chasing Orozco in this round. Orozco boxing on the outside now. Who'da thunk it? Taylor to the body, two jabs from Orozco. Jab to the body from Taylor. Orozco really moving this round, and Taylor just keeps pressuring. Orozco landing a few from the outside, but peppering shots, and Taylor is the one in the aggressor role. Good jab from Orozco. Right hand from Taylor. Taylor 10-9, 76-76
Round 9: Orozco's right eye really getting swollen up thanks to Taylor's left hooks. Orozco again moving backwards to start this round, Taylor the one moving forward. Right hand a left to the body from Taylor. Orozco eats more shots. Then a left hook from Taylor again! Taylor really taking this round over as he senses that Orozco doesn't want to come forward anymore. The eye is clearly bothering Orozco. Taylor with a right hand to the body. Another one to the ribs. Taylor makes Orozco miss on four shots. Right to the body again from Taylor, long and slappy. Taylor's nose bloodied a bit. Uppercut from Taylor misses. Orozco eats another left hook after he jabs to the body. Taylor 10-9, 86-85
Round 10: They've put about a half pound of vaseline on Orozco's right eyebrow. Orozco a bit more aggressive to start this round, which is probably smart, or could bite him in the ass with another left hook. Orozco throwing, Taylor lands a jab, then a counter right hand. Orozco with a jab to the body. Jab down the pipe from Orozco. Right hand Orozco, and then a jab gets in again. Orozco throwing, missing, but backing Taylor down and getting him to have to push the reset button. Taylor with a right to the body. Right hand from Orozco, a good lead shot that caught Taylor frozen up a bit. Final minute of the fight now! Orozco is the guy who is doing what convinces judges this round, and that might be what wins him this fight. Right hand from Orozco and he's aggressively stalking Taylor in the last 30 seconds. Orozco 10-9, 95-95