We’ve heard all week, “Boxing is back!” But now, with the sort of absolute mess of a main event that truly only boxing can give you in the vast landscape of sports, it feels like it truly is.
Jessie Magdaleno got the expected win over Yenifel Vicente in tonight’s 128-pound catchweight main event, but the path to get there took a toll on his balls, to be blunt about it.
Vicente (36-5-2, 28 KO) was docked four points on three called low blow fouls over the course of the night, which doesn’t account for other fouls that referee Robert Byrd missed or simply warned Vicente way too many times about, before finally Byrd stopped the fight 1:38 into the 10th and final round and awarded it to Magdaleno (28-1, 18 KO) via disqualification.
Vicente, 33, went down in the first round on a right hook counter, and it was clear quickly that the 28-year-old Magdaleno did, indeed, have much more in his arsenal than the Dominican, who has always been outgunned against his better opponents.
But Vicente also has a history of getting dirty, and that’s where he went. In the fourth round, Vicente hit Magdaleno with a low blow, and with Byrd slow to actually respond and step between the fighters, Vicente followed up with a clean right hand to the head that laid Magdaleno out on the canvas.
After Magdaleno recovered and decided to fight on, two points were taken from Vicente there, and another point came off later in that same round on another low blow. Byrd really could have called a DQ in that round had he wanted,
Magdaleno caught Vicente with another counter shot and scored a second knockdown in the fifth round, but from there he sort of started to cruise.
It’s hard to blame him, really. Magdaleno has possible world title fights in his near future, and Vicente does have fairly heavy hands, meaning with Magdaleno potentially hobbled a bit — he stayed in the corners more than you’d like, not moving as much as you would want to see — him engaging too much gave Vicente the only chance Vicente had at an upset.
Magdaleno was blatantly hit low again to start the 10th round, and Byrd decided to take another point instead of ending the fight. But eventually, another one came in, and the veteran (maybe too “veteran”) referee finally called for the DQ.
“He was just a dirty fighter,” Magdaleno said after the bout. “He felt the power and didn’t want to come in because I was dodging him, so his way was just to fight dirty and hit me low.”
Magdaleno was also a bit more gracious than a lot of guys might have been, giving Vicente some props.
“He was a rugged fighter, a tough veteran. I give him that. He knew what he was doing,” he said. “But I’m too much of a smart fighter. I had to keep moving, keep on the outside, and catch him coming in.”
Asked about his high rankings with the WBC (No. 1 contender) and WBO (No. 4 contender), Magdaleno confirmed he wants a title fight next.
“I don’t give a shit who it is,” he said bluntly, but that’s OK because you can say “shit” on cable. “I’m No. 1 with the WBC, so Gary Russell, we’re coming, baby.”
It’s probably not a coincidence that Magdaleno didn’t mention Shakur Stevenson, the WBO featherweight titlist, by name. If Top Rank wanted that as a possible fight, it surely would have been part of this week’s hype train, as Stevenson fought Tuesday. But Shakur might be moving up to 130 for good, while Magdaleno is staying at 126 for now.
A fight with Russell (31-1, 18 KO) isn’t really a bad fight, but it could be hard to put together. Despite all of Russell’s talk about how he’s technically a free agent and can fight anyone on any card, he has fought exclusively on PBC cards since the great Haymon/Golden Boy split many years back.
That’s not to say Top Rank wouldn’t let Russell fight on a PBC event to take Russell on, mind you, and the PBC/Top Rank ice has thawed to some degree. But it’s not nearly as easy to make as, for instance, Stevenson-Magdaleno would be. Again, it’s surely not a coincidence that nobody on ESPN hyped Stevenson-Magdaleno as a possibility this week.
Official scores at the time of stoppage were 85-81, 87-79, and 87-79 for Magdaleno. Bad Left Hook had it 87-79 and 88-78 for Magdaleno.
Adam Lopez MD-10 Louie Coria
Well, this was a hell of a fight. It’s been a screwy year, obviously, but as of June 11, I think this is my leader for Fight of the Year. Lopez (14-2, 6 KO) got the scores (95-95, 96-94, 96-94), and we had it 96-94 Lopez and 95-95 on two cards, but while there’s no controversy over the winner here, the favored Lopez definitely had to earn this one, and his face showed it.
Coria (12-3, 7 KO) fought aggressively and relentlessly from the very start, showing quickly that he didn’t come to get run over. The 21-year-old fighter’s effort was immense, and while Lopez did dictate much of the middle rounds of the fight with a good jab, he was still taking shots, and Coria was able to keep up a huge pace through the end of the 10 rounds, while Lopez did fade some down the stretch.
If you missed this one, give it a watch later. This was an incredibly welcome effort after three months of no boxing and Tuesday’s slate of mismatches.
“That was my toughest fight to date,” Lopez said after the bout. “I used to say it was my fight with Jean Carlos Rivera, but this was definitely my toughest fight.
“He was relentless. I honestly hurt my hand hitting him that many times with that jab. But he was just relentless. He didn’t care. He had a lot of heart. I was trying to box and he was trying to fight. Sometimes I went to his game plan, sometimes he fell into my game plan.”
Lopez landed 259 of 754 (34%) total punches, and 156 of 470 (33%) of his power shots, according to CompuBox. He out-jabbed Coria, 103-31, and landed more body shots, 54-38. Coria landed 176 of 849 (21%) of his total punches and 145 of 628 (23%) of his power shots.
Lopez, 24, said he wants to get in with the top names at featherweight soon and prove himself.
“I want to get in the top 10, so anybody in the top 10. I don’t really pay attention to rankings too much, but give me a name. This was not my best fight. I give myself a C. I feel like I made a lot of mistakes, and he maybe showed my weaknesses in there. I’ve got a lot of work to do. But I want a big name by the end of the year or maybe next year.”
Eric Mondragon D-4 Mike Sanchez
This was another fun fight, a lightweight bout between two young prospects, both unbeaten and still unbeaten. Both men went down, and pretty hard, in the first round, and then they settled in and showed some promise, both of them. Mondragon (3-0-1, 2 KO) is 21 years old and Sanchez (6-0-1, 2 KO) is 23, so there’s future here, maybe, for both guys, and you don’t see that a lot in a fight this early for two opponents.
Gabriel Muratalla TKO-1 Fernando Robles
An easy win for Muratalla (3-0, 3 KO), a 26-year-old bantamweight prospect and pre-school teacher, who dropped Robles (2-3, 0 KO) late in the first round and it was over there. Robles tried to get up, couldn’t get his legs, and referee Robert Byrd called it off. This was Muratalla’s first fight in the U.S., actually — he’s from Fontana, California, but his first two bouts were both in Tijuana last year. He hadn’t fought since September. This is the 23-year-old Robles’ third straight loss, all against prospects, including Jeremy Adorno last August, which was his last fight.