Brief upfront: For my own personal amusement I used to write a Wordpress boxing blog, a blog that had like three readers total - it gave me a chance to write something and have a creative outlet outside of work with a passion of mine. I’ve long sunsetted that site but it’s a slow week and it’s nasty and cold outside so felt the desire to write again. Not sure anybody really uses or sees this section of the site but it’s not like anybody was digging through Wordpress for random anonymous-dude’s boxing takes either, so here goes nothing!
I’ll let more qualified people preview the fights themselves, but let’s do a little something called ‘resume reviews’ for four of the fighters in the two most compelling matchups on this Saturday’s Showtime card, starting with the main event.
Subriel Matias (Puerto Rico) 18-1 (18 KO)
The record says it all - Matias is a puncher. Every win of his professional career has been a stoppage - and his most recent fight saw him avenge his only loss, so he's stopped everybody he's been in the ring with. That being said, his power is more of the clubbing variety, doing damage over an extended period of time, vs having the Deontay Wilder one-hitter power. Interestingly enough - every single knockout Matias has is of the TKO variety, either as a referee or corner stoppage. I’ve obviously not watched every fight - but this is pretty telling in terms of the kind of power Matias brings. Matias is a high-level fighter who makes good fights, and isn’t afraid to take shots to land his own. He might not be the best fighter in the division, but he’s a tough out for anybody.
January 22, 2022: Matias TKO9 Petros Ananyan
In this rematch, Matias avenged his only loss, a competitive and close February 2020 10-round decision to Ananyan; and did it in clear-cut fashion. After a close first third of the fight in which both fighters landed their share, Matias took over in the 4th and largely dominated from there (despite losing a point in the 7th for a low blow), really establishing himself as the better fighter of the two. He battered Ananyan late, dropping him in the 9th round before the Armenian’s corner called a stop to the contest after not liking their fighter’s body language and eyes following the round. While Ananyan isn’t a name-level opponent, this contest showed Matias’ improvement and the danger in his hands.
May 19, 2021: Subriel Matias TKO8 Batyrzhan Jukembayev
Jukembayev is no household name either, but this was a crossroads fight between two interesting and talented fighters.The Kazakh came into this fight undefeated at 18-0, and came out aggressively. Round 4 was a fantastic round, maybe low key one of the better rounds of 2021, with Matias hitting the gas and drops him, and Jukembayev responding by just going balls to the wall. This fight showed Matias throwing mean, strong punches, just beating the opponent down with volume and accumulation. Matias is truly dangerous to put in front of brave, outclassed fighters - but he showed dents in his own armor here. Despite getting the better of most of the fight, he got hurt a few times in this fight, including a strong right hook in the waning seconds of round 7. Matias recovered to continue to batter the Kazakh, whose corner finally saw enough after the 8th. This one is worth going back to if you missed it.
July 19, 2019: Subriel Matias TKO11 Maxim Dadashev
Unfortunately, one of the tragic fights of the past few years. After a competitive and brutal fight with the then-undefeated Dadashev, the Russian’s corner pulled the plug a few rounds too late and Dadashev collapsed shortly after the end of this fight, ultimately succumbing to his injuries. Matias has done well to move on from this and continue his career without letting this define him, but one can’t imagine this weighs lightly on his conscience. It’s an example of the brutality of this sport, and the danger of a fighter like Matias - a vicious puncher without one-punch stopping power, a fighter who beats opponents down with sustained volume, and a fighter who is dangerous in front of a brave fighter. I watched this live and it felt like everybody who did so was shaken - a stark and cold reminder of the very real dangers of this sport.
February 22, 2020: Petros Ananyan UD10 Subriel Matias
As mentioned above, a competitive and close decision loss to Ananyan shortly before the world shut down due to the pandemic. This was just Matias’ second fight after the Dadashev tragedy, and it’d be hard pressed to blame him if this was affecting his performance. The fight was tight in the ring and on the scorecards, and Matias getting dropped in the 7th round wound up making a difference, as two of the three judges had him losing by a single point (95-94). While a deserved competitive loss, Matias would bounce back from this one to emphatically defeat Ananyan and continue his ascent up the rankings.
Jeremias Ponce (Argentina) 30-0 (20 KO)
Ponce doesn’t have as much tape out there to study for us stateside fans, but there is a long and storied lineage of unheralded fighters from Argentina with big records coming up and proving to be world-class punchers. Their resumes are littered with names even the most hardcore fans have never heard of, fought in bars, gyms and concert halls with strange names - Ponce’s last two fights took place in the "Universum Gym" (hello Ray Flores) in Germany. We won’t know until he’s tested what he actually brings, but unheralded Argentinians tend to have a higher-than-usual batting average.
June 12, 2021: Jeremias Ponce TKO10 Lewis Ritson
The one truly notable win on Ponce’s record we can look at and study is his 10th round stoppage of Lewis Ritson, a very solid European contender who was fighting in front of a rabid home crowd in Newcastle. Ritson is a solid and tough fighter for the European level, and he was ground to dust by Ponce. Ponce hurt him with a body shot within the first minute and a half and proceeded to win almost every round of this fight, landing at all angles and outworking Ritson. The Brit was looking discouraged and beaten in Round 8, and Ponce just kept pounding away, even with rounds in his bag. Ritson actually went down on a body shot in the 10th round and we saw the rare ‘referee disregards the corner towel and throws it back’ move - which only served to get poor Ritson dropped twice more, forcing the stoppage in the 10th.
Elvis Rodriguez (Dominican Republic) 13-1-1 (12 KO)
Rodriguez once looked like he was getting a heavy push from Top Rank, with showcase fights on ESPN+ undercards and getting the standard excitable hype from the ESPN studio crew after bouncing the heads of numerous journeyman off the canvas. He’s a good looking kid, with strong and compact punches and a big smile - you can understand why Top Rank liked him as a prospect. Ultimately though, the company decided to release him from their promotion following an upset loss to Kenny Sims Jr. in 2021 - in my opinion, a bit of a strange and early cutting of bait, though obviously they’ve seen more behind the scenes and in training than we do as just fans. His fight with Joseph Adorno this weekend is a big test for him, and should tell us more about his future and whether he ever truly graduates from propect to true contender status.
March 26, 2023: Elvis Rodriguez KO7 Jose Juan Velasco
Rodriguez has a typical young prospect resume, which means he doesn’t have many notable wins or name fighters on his resume. Velasco is far from a name fighter, but he has been in the ring with legitimate competition - though he was stopped by the two most notable names on that resume in losses to Mario Barrios and Regis Prograis. Still, he’s a veteran fighter who knows what he’s doing in the ring, and Rodriguez outclassed him from this one in the opening bell, hurting him in the middle rounds and ultimately dropping him three times in the 7th to get the impressive stoppage.
November 6, 2021: Elvis Rodriguez KO5 Juan Pablo Romero
You can learn a lot about a fighter for how they respond to losses - this fight was Rodriguez’s first following his loss to Sims, and first with PBC coming off the heels of getting cut by Top Rank. Romero was no pushover opponent - though untested himself, he was a former Olympian from Mexico, and knew how to box. Despite a tough opening few round in which Romero did take a few from Rodriguez through volume and boxing skills, ultimately Rodriguez power carried the day and the Mexican was unable to deal with it, getting dropped int he 4th round and then taking a full 10-count in the 5th.
May 5, 2021: Kenneth Sims Jr. MD8 Rodriguez
The loss that ultimately got Rodriguez cut from Top Rank, Rodriguez dropped a deserved and surprise decision to the journeyman from Chicago. Sims gave Rodriguez trouble from the jump by boxing from the outside behind an educated jab - Rodriguez had moments in the middle rounds as his power shots started to land, but Sims stuck with the plan and continued to confuse and neutralize the vaunted Rodriguez power. The young prospect didn’t look like he knew quite how to deal with a fighter who wasn’t going to go away, and Sims - an underrated fighter if there ever was one - was too much for him on the day. I remember being nervous the judges would rob Sims on the card, and though one somewhat tried (finding four rounds for Elvis was pretty difficult) Elvis took a deserved L on this night.
Joseph Adorno (USA) 17-1-2 (14 KO)
Similar to Rodriguez, Adorno was a onetime hot Top Rank prospect who has seen his career slightly fizzle as he’s stepped up in competition. He’s not a bad fighter and knows how to handle himself, but it seems he’s found his level and that appears to be as an also-ran, lower tier contender. The really good fighters seem to be able to beat (or draw with) Adorno - but he still knows what he’s doing in the ring and won’t be an easy out for anybody.
September 9, 2022: Joseph Adorno UD10 Hugo Alberto Roldan
Adorno’s resume is pretty bare in terms of notable wins - there’s a lot of journeyman on the ‘win’ section of his ledger. His last fight was maybe his most notable - a win in a ShoBox main event against a 21-0-1 Argentinian puncher, a deserved decision in which Adorno was made to stand in there against a strong if wild puncher and play matador, using his skills to avoid big punches while darting in for his own. Though I thought Adorno deserved a clear win, the judges all had Adorno winning by just one point - the difference being a somewhat soft balance knockdown in the second round. Still, it was a strong & tough win for Adorno as he looked to rebuild back into a contender and get his shot graduate from ShoBox to Showtime Championship Boxing.
April 24, 2021: Joseph Adorno MD8 Jamaine Ortiz
This draw has aged quite well, with Ortiz showing himself since this one to be a genuine contender-level lightweight, retiring Jamel Herring and giving Vasyl Lomachenko a competitive fight in 2022. This was a VERY fun fight to watch, and I’d encourage you to go back and do so - Ortiz was all hand speed and athletic offense, Adorno patiently sitting back and firing counters. Just a great style matchup and a deserved draw, with multiple back and forth moments. Each fighter dropped the other, and both fighters ended the fight exhausted and bleeding. Really a great prospect-level fight, and if you’re high on Adorno, it’s likely his performance in this draw that is why.
March 26, 2022: Michel Rivera UD10 Joseph Adorno
Adorno’s sole loss came in a competitive but clear loss to a fellow prospect, a 10-round decision to Michel Rivera. The two fighters have somewhat similar approaches to fighting (both are primarily counterpunchers and schooled boxers) but Rivera was simply on a bit of a higher level than Adorno in this one, who had some weight issues in the lead to this fight as well. This was the high point of Rivera’s run thus far (he would go on to lose a non-competitive decision to fellow technician Frank Martin later in the year) and the low point of Adorno’s (in addition to the weight issues, this loss was the closer in a three fight streak of no wins, two draws and a loss) but could also just have been a style matchup.
We’ve had a pretty good run of fights so far in 2023 - both of these matchups have potential to be fun style matchups, so here’s hoping our luck continues.
If you made it this far - thanks for reading. I take notes on almost every fight I watch, so it’s fun sometimes to dip back into previous fights when fight cards come up. Would love to do more of these if I find the motivation and people are interested.
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