Middleweight veteran Tureano Johnson looked all but finished in a disappointing eight-round draw against Fernando Castaneda, and was called on this evening to face Irish prospect Jason Quigley, with Quigley expected to score a solid win over an experienced fighter.
Instead, Johnson (21-2-1, 15 KO) was pretty dominant after the first two rounds, repeatedly hurting Quigley (16-1, 12 KO) and battering him to the point that the fight probably could have been stopped after the seventh or eighth rounds. It went through nine, Quigley got pretty clearly hurt on a body shot, and when the doctor visited the corner, he just wasn’t responding, so his corner pulled him out there.
It was the right call, a compassionate one, but obviously a huge setback for the 28-year-old Quigley. The win, though, gives Johnson some much-needed career momentum at 35 years of age, and puts him back in the mix at 160.
“This boy, he got heart. I threw the kitchen sink and the car behind me,” Johnson said in a post-fight interview that turned somewhat confrontational for a moment as he told Quigley to his face that he quit. Quigley, for his part, shook Johnson’s hand and embraced him, congratulating him on the win.
“I’m here to be a world champion,” Johnson added. “Whoever got those belts, I want a Charlo, I want a Canelo, I want all of them!”
Leonardo Baez UD-10 Alberto Melian
Definitely an upset, but probably not a shocker to you if you’d seen Melian fight before as a pro. Melian was in some circles called the Lomachenko of Argentina as an amateur, but he was no Lomachenko, though he did fight twice in the Olympics, losing in the first round in 2012 and the quarterfinals in 2016. As a pro, he’d already had struggles last time out, going down twice against Isaac Zarate. He’s been matched pretty aggressively, and it’s clear he just doesn’t have a huge upside as a pro. He’s 29, too, so he’s pretty much what he’s going to be.
Anyway, he was outhustled and outworked and outlanded and outeverythinged here by Baez (16-2, 9 KO), an unheralded 23-year-old from the Mexican club circuit. Melian (5-1, 3 KO) made it a fun fight, but he was beaten soundly, and even the unanimous 97-93 scores were arguably a bit generous for the loser.
All that said, Melian has the ingredients to be a fun undercard fighter for a while at the very least, so long as he doesn’t get terribly discouraged by the reality that he’s not going to be a top guy.
Marlen Esparza UD-8 Sonia Osorio
This was the second fight back for Esparza after she had a baby in January. She looked fine as usual, but she’s not quite a Claressa Shields or Katie Taylor or anything. Still, she’s a quality flyweight with a promoter that wants to push her, so as long as she doesn’t get upset, she’ll get title shots. Scores were 78-74, 79-73, and 79-73.