Prospects Nikita Ababiy and Jesus “Panterita” Martinez both got decent tests this evening in San Antonio, but won their fights on the Rodriguez vs Rungvisai prelims to stay unbeaten.
A quick rundown of what we saw early:
Nikita Ababiy UD-8 Noe Larios Jr
Ababiy (12-0, 6 KO) has seen his prospect hype cool pretty noticeably in the couple years, but he wins again to stay unbeaten, taking unanimous scores of 78-74. Bad Left Hook’s unofficial card had it 77-75 for Ababiy, and this was plenty competitive.
Larios (14-2, 6 KO) may not love getting the tag, but the 25-year-old is a very useful guy for giving prospects real rounds at 154 and 160. He went into the ninth last December in Liverpool before Caoimhin Agyarko stopped him, and he gave Ababiy eight useful rounds that once again showed some holes in the Brooklyn fighter’s game.
Ababiy is still only 23, one of those guys whose consistent exposure on Matchroom and DAZN undercards has made people think he might be older than he is. There is an impatience that comes with getting to see prospects fight all the time; back in the glorious glory days of white hot HBO and Showtime boxing, where there was never a terrible main event or bad matchmaking, we basically saw two or three fighters on every card. Now, we generally see all of them, whether it’s Matchroom or Golden Boy on DAZN or Top Rank with ESPN, and PBC and Showtime appear to be getting there with very bad “hangouts” featuring the teen-rockinest coolio fortysomethings this world has ever seen.
Anyway, I’m getting away from my point, which is that Ababiy still isn’t ready for contender-type fights, but also 23 is starting to skirt it on what that really means. Does he need time to develop further, or is he not going to develop much further and maybe serious contender status is not really in his future?
We’ll see, but Matchroom are closing in on the point with him where you kinda have to shit or get off the pot, so to speak. That doesn’t mean next fight, but it’s something they have to start thinking about, wondering seriously exactly what they think they have and when to do a sink-or-swim.
Jesus Martinez MD-4 Keven Monroy
This was the second fight of Martinez’s pro career, 15 days after his first fight. In both bouts, the 17-year-old “Panterita” (2-0, 0 KO) has shown little blips of youthful over-confidence. In this one, that got him put on the canvas in round three.
Judges scored this 38-38, 39-37, and 39-36, two of those cards making little sense and possibly read wrong. 38-38 would be two rounds apiece and not giving Monroy (1-3, 1 KO) the extra point for the third round knockdown. 39-37 is giving Monroy a 10-9 third, which I think is goofy but whatever, he did lost the majority of that round even if it was a clean knockdown. 39-36 just doesn’t make sense and I truly think that one was just scribbled weird or whatever. “36” gives Monroy nine points four times, or I guess maybe eight in some other round? But none of the Martinez rounds were close to a knockdown-less 10-8.
Anyway, whatever, I do think Martinez won, I had it 38-37, which is the obvious and clear score, and I’m not someone who thinks their score cards are flawless.
But it’s extremely obvious that this is a raw, very young fighter; talented, yes, but Matchroom need to be cautious and give him the time to properly develop. He needs literally years of seasoning to become what he might be able to be. If it takes five years to make sure he’s ready for relevant fights, he will still only be 22. I’m not saying it’ll take five, I’m saying that’s how young he is.