Ardreal Holmes Jr stayed unbeaten tonight in the main event of ShoBox from Topeka, Kan., but he probably impressed the TV commentators more than anyone with his win over Ismael Villarreal.
Holmes (13-0, 5 KO) pecked and poked his way to getting scores of 96-94 and 97-93 from two judges, with one judge scoring it 96-94 for Villarreal (12-1, 8 KO) in the 10-round junior middleweight bout.
The 28-year-old Holmes, nicknamed “Bossman,” mostly did as he should have, using his height and reach to frustrate Villarreal and keep his opponent at bay, but it consistently felt like he really could have been doing more to impress and more to show a wider range of skills, instead relying heavily on single jabs and a lot of clinching when Villarreal would get in close.
To be entirely fair, Villarreal, 25, also didn’t do much of real note here, and I scored the fight 98-92 for Holmes, wider than either of the official judges who gave him the W. It was a fight where I didn’t think either guy showcased much serious potential to climb the ladder any further than this level, in all honesty.
While the Showtime crew seemed to feel Holmes had pretty much dominated the fight, the punch stats don’t really tell that tale, not that punch stats alone are always the most reliable thing.
CompuBox saw Holmes out-landing Villarreal, 116 to 98 overall, but Villarreal landed 90 power punches to Holmes’ 66. Holmes did land 50 jabs to just eight from Villarreal, and it’s also hard to say that Villarreal’s power punches really affected much; he did seem to clearly get Holmes’ attention a couple times, but nothing followed, and he never developed anything resembling rhythm in the bout.
But it’s a win for Holmes and a loss for Villarreal. Holmes will have these sort of advantages over pretty much any fighter at this level at 154 lbs, but when the opposition skill level gets higher, it looks hard right now to see what he does that is going to keep better fighters from bringing the heat to him. We’ll see, though, that’s why they fight the fights, and every fight is different.
Edward Vazquez SD-10 Misael Lopez
Turned out to be a very fun fight, not just well-matched, and the difference on the cards in the end was a second round knockdown in Vazquez’s favor, which took the vital extra point off of Lopez’s tally on one judge’s card.
Scores were 95-94 and 96-93 for Vazquez, and one 95-94 card for Lopez. Without that knockdown swinging a 10-8 to Vazquez in round two, this winds up a split draw, as that 95-94 Vazquez card would have been 95-95 — if he had won that round on that judge’s card without the knockdown.
For what it’s worth, Bad Left Hook’s unofficial card was 96-93 for Vazquez, and Showtime’s Steve Farhood had it 95-94 for Lopez. I also believe every one of these scores is fully reasonable, it was a good fight with a few momentum swings and both guys doing good work.
Lopez (14-2, 5 KO) will be absolutely kicking himself after this loss, but he’s a guy I’d expect to see back on ShoBox, too, because a loss to Vazquez (14-1, 3 KO) is really no shame, especially one this competitive, and I sort of got the sense that Lopez could have something more that he can get to with more development between fights, while Vazquez seems like he may be topping out at exactly this, but that’s just my opinion.
Kurt Scoby KO-2 John Mannu
A terrific ShoBox debut for Scoby (pronounced “Scooby”), a 27-year-old prospect, a former college football guy who played football around 215 lbs and is fighting at 140, but you’d never guess he used to be that much heavier, this is a real athlete with an athlete’s build.
Let’s put it this way: Scoby (11-0, 9 KO) should be on your radar. We’ll see how his skills hold as he moves up the ladder, but the way he fought here was impressive
It’s not just that he’s powerful and explosive, which he is, but he established a stiff, strong jab in round one, then just came out and demolished Australia’s Mannu (7-1-1, 4 KO) in the second round, dropping him on a right hand pretty much immediately, and then scoring three more knockdowns before referee Jacob Villa rightly stopped it at 1:40 of round two. Villa gave Mannu chances, and every knockdown was one that took more out of him until it would have been foolish to let it continue. Scoby couldn’t miss and was just totally dominant.
This was genuinely impressive. If he’s not back on ShoBox for his next fight it’s because someone else snapped him up. He’s going to be fighting on your TV, and while 27 isn’t young for a prospect, he does have time to develop. One to watch.