Ardreal Holmes UD-10 Vernon Brown
Sort of a makeshift main event, as both were originally intended to fight other opponents on a four-bout card, but when those opponents withdrew, they were paired together atop a three-fight bill.
A deserved win for Holmes (12-0, 5 KO) on scores of 96-94, 97-93, and 98-92, which were all fair. I had it 96-94 for Holmes, but even though that’s a pretty close score, I didn’t think you could reasonably see more than four rounds for Brown (13-2-1, 9 KO), and maybe no more than two, which is how the judges had it in the end, with the 32-year-old Chicagoan getting between two, three, and four rounds on the cards.
The 27-year-old Holmes, a Flint, Mich., native, didn’t look like any rising superstar, if we’re being honest, but he put his foot down when it counted in the final two rounds, clearly winning both of those and leaving what he had left in the ring. Both were tired by that point, but Holmes was the one able to amp it up. As a 6’2” junior middleweight, he can present some stylistic issues. He fought well at range when he chose to do so, and he also was pretty decent on the inside, though Brown is certainly far from a top-level opponent.
All in all, a pretty interesting fights, with some swings in momentum that made it compelling until the end. Holmes started well, winning the first four rounds on my card, and probably no less than three on anyone’s. But Brown doggedly inched his way back into it, and I had it even after eight, before Holmes finished things in fine form and got the deserved W.
Edwin De Los Santos KO-2 Luis Acosta
This one figured to be an early night for someone based on their KO percentages, but you never really know. Those can be fluffed up. It appears De Los Santos’ has not been, as he dropped Acosta (12-1, 11 KO) in the first round on a little shot that didn’t do big damage, then finished him early in the second round on a left hand that did big damage. Acosta was done, referee Mark Nelson rightly didn’t even give him a count.
De Los Santos (14-1, 13 KO) was coming off of a ShoBox loss in January, a split decision in Florida against William Foster III. That was debatable, but maybe we should give Foster more credit just for going eight rounds with this dude.
Here’s the KO:
Giovanni Marquez UD-4 Nelson Morales
The pro debut for Marquez, the son of Raul Marquez, a former Olympian, former world champion, current ShoBox analyst, and Giovanni’s lead trainer.
Marquez (1-0, 0 KO) didn’t blow anyone away here, I don’t think, picking up the win on scores of 39-37, 39-37, and 40-36, with BLH also scoring it 39-37 for him, but this was a useful pro debut, too, he wasn’t matched against an incompetent he could knock out really easily. Morales (2-1, 0 KO) is no great shakes, but he showed he can capably defend himself, could counter-punch a bit, and wasn’t easy to just bowl over. You combine that with some obvious nerves for a pro debut, and you get a four-round decision.
But once Marquez started settling in toward the end of the first round, the fight was pretty much all his way. He got clipped a bit, but the power coming back from Morales wasn’t anything for him to worry about. He was a standout amateur, has a good pedigree, and is a real prospect. He joins Gary Russell Jr in 2009 and the London 2012 squad of Dominic Breazeale, Marcus Browne, Terrell Gausha, Errol Spence Jr, and Rau’shee Warren as fighters to make their pro debuts on ShoBox airwaves. Three of those guys (Russell, Spence, and Warren) have gone on to win world titles, and all of them have gone on to fight for a world title.