Ashton Sylve KO-1 Braulio Rodriguez
Personally, I kinda hoped to never see Rodriguez fight again, and Sylve made it so that basically I didn’t.
This was the first fight for Rodriguez (20-5, 17 KO) in three years, and he came out there swinging, basically, and then he got dropped by the 18-year-old Sylve (8-0, 8 KO), and it was over. The less we go into Rodriguez’s dramatic acting, the better. It’s a part of how he’s always been as a fighter, but the referee gave him a 10-count, after which he was very upset.
This teaches us very little about Sylve, really, but Jake Paul likes him and is intent on pushing him, so you’re going to see him more. This wasn’t even a bad matchup in theory for an 18-year-old’s eighth pro fight, but Rodriguez is one of those guys you never really know what you’re getting, and we got what we got.
Alexander Santiago RTD-7 Antonio Nieves
A rematch of a fight that went to a draw on ShoBox in 2016, this time Santiago (27-3-5, 14 KO) gets the stoppage win after seven rounds, but it was an odd — or at least unusual — stoppage.
Nieves’ trainer called the fight off between rounds when Nieves (20-4-2, 11 KO) told his trainer that he “couldn’t get Santiago off him,” at which point the trainer stopped it and said if that was the case, then his fighter was “going to get hurt.” He also noted that he didn’t “give a fuck” if people criticize him.
For what it’s worth, Nieves, 35, didn’t put up a lot of resistance. It was all very calm, almost casual, and you have to defer to the trainer; he knows the fighter, he also knows how preparation was, and they didn’t have a long time to prepare for this fight. Nieves also had only fought once since 2019, when he returned to the ring in May of this year. So there could be layers to this that we just will not understand, but the trainer might.
Santiago, 26, is hoping to move on and fight for a world title at bantamweight, and there might be four that go vacant by early 2023.
On another note, I think the organizers made a mistake putting genuine, professional boxing on at this point in the show. The crowd did not care about this fight, booing it at times, and it really wasn’t a bad fight. But no, people do not buy tickets to Jake Paul fights to see boxing. That is not why the majority are there.
Uriah Hall UD-4 Le’Veon Bell
A double debut for former UFC fighter Hall, who didn’t seem that interested in being here at all, and former NFL star Bell, who didn’t seem particularly well-prepared for a boxing match.
This was not a good fight. Hall won on unanimous scores of 40-36 from all three judges, and Bad Left Hook had it 39-37 for him, shading the final round to Bell, though Hall had maybe his best and most aggressive 10 seconds in the last 10 seconds of the final round.
SHOStats had Hall landing 80 of 191 (42%) of his total punches, with 47 of 106 (44%) power shots and 33 of 85 (39%) jabs. Bell’s status weren’t much different — he was 74 of 162 (46%) overall, with 37 of 73 (51%) power shots and 37 of 89 (42%) jabs.
The quality of their shots was generally in favor of Hall, though, even if he never seemed to much care about being in there. We saw different flavors of bad foot work here, with Bell crossing his own feet up constantly and almost tripping over himself, and Hall just flat-footed and plodding.
“I just told him I have so much respect for him. It’s such a hard thing to do to switch careers. For him to step outside of his comfort zone — this is the toughest sport in the world,” Hall said. “It’s a hard road, but I promise you, if you keep going, you’ll make it.”
“He definitely surprised me,” Hall added. “He’s pretty good. For him to stick to the jab to the body — he was very consistent with it, and he was strong, man. I got cracked a couple times and was, like, ‘Holy shit,’ but I had to keep it together.”
Hall then called out Jake Paul. “I want his frosty ass. I’m the dude that’s gonna come out here and expose him. If Anderson don’t do it, I’m gonna be the one to fuck you up.”
It was a lot more fire than he showed for most of the fight, but then what do I want him to do, bark like a mad dog the whole fight? He’s a pro.
Chris Avila UD-4 Dr. Mike Varshavski
Varshavski, a legitimate doctor making his pro boxing debut, was never really in this. The first round was relatively close, at least compared to the other three, where he took a beating from Avila (2-1, 0 KO), an MMA veteran and member of the “Diaz Army.”
Avila battered and bloodied Varshavski, who was tough but just looked way out of his depth against a real professional fighter. Avila had Varshavski hurt late in the fourth and final round, and did go for a finish, but Dr. Mike was a tough dude, took a lot of clean shots, and hung on for the 12 minutes. The man showed real heart, and he also is donating his entire purse to a good cause.
“Props to Dr. Mike for taking the fight. I’m glad I got the win, but I would have liked to get the finish. But it was a four-round fight and I had to get to work, and he was a tough guy, so props to him,” Avila said.
Avila added “fuck all these wannabes out here,” but that he wasn’t “saying no names,” and that also, he “fucks with” Arizona.
“Probably just a lack of experience and I was trying to multi-task a little out there. But overall it’s a great experience. I got a beautiful check for the Harlem Boys and Girls Club for $175,000, so looking to move forward and do it again and get some wins,” Varshavski said.