Chris Colbert got his first Showtime main event and delivered a solid win, stopping Jaime Arboleda in the 11th round to retain the unnecessary but extant interim WBA junior lightweight title.
Colbert (15-0, 6 KO) got clipped occasionally by Arboleda (16-2, 13 KO), but mostly was in control here, and lead 98-90 on all three score cards at the time of stoppage. He had dropped Arboleda in the ninth round but also been deducted a point for a clear low blow, before he put Arboleda down in the 11th and closed the show.
The 24-year-old Colbert hadn’t fought since January, when he had to more grind out a win over veteran Jezzrel Corrales, but Corrales and Arboleda are very different fighters, and Colbert has proven he can handle both styles at that level.
“I put on a great performance for what I had,” Colbert said. “We came here and got the job done and finished with a knockout. He said he’s the bull and I’m the matador, so I had to come in here and show him how a bull really does it.”
“I’m more than just a boxer and a flashy puncher, I can stand there and bang,” Colbert said.
Richardson Hitchins SD-10 Argenis Mendez
The split decision makes it seem like it was an even harder fight for Hitchins that it was, and not that he didn’t have some moments where Mendez did well with his veteran wiles, but this should have been a clear Hitchins UD by all accounts.
Judge Don Ackerman had it 97-93 for Mendez, which was a puzzler. The other cards were 98-92 and 99-91 for Hitchins.
Mendez (25-6-3, 12 KO) is probably at the end of having hopes to get back in the world title mix, now at 140, but he is still a very useful pro fighter and should be for a while. At 34, he’s fighting heavier than his prime weight, which was really 130, where he won the IBF title in 2013, but he’s done pretty well at 135 and 140, too, all things considered. He was never a top star or anything, but he took Anthony Peterson and Juan Heraldez to draws in his last two, and gave Hitchins (12-0, 5 KO) some good work here for sure.
The 23-year-old Hitchins has the dimensions and seems to have some the skills, but the lack of power may be an issue at higher levels. We’ll see, though. Considering how big a step up Mendez was for him, Hitchins did very well here, and he’s got a load of confidence. He might just be one of those guys who knows how to cover his relative weaknesses and get the job done, and he’s still got time to get better, and opponents who can make him so.
“I rate my performance a B+. I think I might have lost one round. I could have gotten an A if I put a little more hurt on him, but I knew his defense would be tight,” Hitchins said. “I’ve watched him since I was a kid. I knew he was a smart fighter. With the amount of experience I have compared to him, it was a great performance.”
“He was a big step up from who I’ve been fighting. He felt disrespected when they sent him my name,” Hitchins continued. “He said he was going to use his experience to stop me, but I dominated the fight. I hurt him in the seventh, but he’s crafty and has enough pop so that I couldn’t be careless. I was happy to cruise to the victory and win almost every round.”
Ronald Ellis TKO-5 Matt Korobov
Another unfortunate break for Korobov, who had to pull out after the fourth round, officially 0:01 of the fifth, with an Achilles injury. The fight was competitive before the end, but Korobov (28-4-1, 14 KO) is about to turn 38 in a few weeks, and this might really be about it for him. His pro career has never quite panned out as hoped so long ago, after a really amateur career. He’s had some legit losses, some questionable losses and draws, and this is two straight TKO losses via injury. It sucks, but the clock was already ticking.
Ellis (18-1-2, 12 KO) blew weight badly for this fight, coming in at 166 on a 161-pound contract limit, but the win is big for him even if it’s not something that’s going to rocket him up independent rankings or anything. He’s 31 and has been really inconsistent in his pro career, but he was doing OK here. The win will get him another fight of note.
“I know he dies out in the later rounds so I was going to step on it in the second half of the fight. It’s been a while and I know that this wasn’t my best performance. He’s awkward, he’s a southpaw. I hardly fought lefties and I hate fighting southpaws.
“He wasn’t giving me that much but I was trying to beat him by a few punches each round. I heard the announcers say that I wasn’t throwing as much as I usually do but I was giving what I was getting,” Ellis said after the fight. “After I heard that, I stepped it up. Once I saw that his leg was hurt, I was nervous we were going to the scorecards because he might have grabbed early rounds.”
He was also quite candid about his struggle on the scales.
“I can’t say it enough, I did what I had to do and he took the fight. I came here five pounds over and just couldn’t shake them off. I just have to tighten up the diet,” he said. “I have been hearing from a lot of boxers about it. I promise that will be the last time that ever happens. I want to stay at 160. My power is there at 160. I was taking Korobov’s shots well and I just felt like 160 is where I belong, I’ve just got to get my fat ass working.”
Ellis says he wants a title shot next, which may not be in the cards, but he might as well call for it. He was candid about this, too.
“(Korobov) wanted Jermall Charlo, right? Well, I want Charlo then,” he said. “But I will take anyone. I know that performance was not the best and I probably shouldn’t be calling people out but I am. I am going to be around for a long time and want the big names. “