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Highlights and results: Jamal James beats Alberto Palmetta, Elvis Rodriguez wins, more

Jamal James took a clear win over Alberto Palmetta in Minneapolis, plus more from the Matias vs Ponce undercard.

Jamal James took a clear win over Alberto Palmetta in Minneapolis
Jamal James took a clear win over Alberto Palmetta in Minneapolis
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Welterweight veteran Jamal James returned from a long layoff to beat Alberto Palmetta tonight in Minneapolis, in the chief support bout on the Matias vs Ponce undercard on Showtime.

James (28-2, 12 KO) got the unanimous decision on scores of 98-92, 98-92, and 99-91, snapping Palmetta’s 12-fight win streak. Bad Left Hook unofficially scored it 97-93 and 97-93 on two separate cards.

James, 34, was fighting for the first time since an Oct. 2021 loss to Radzhab Butaev, and was his usual high-effort self, though there were some concerning moments in the middle rounds, though only in his corner between those rounds. When the fight was live, James looked good; between rounds, he seemed tired and even a little spacey at one point, but he got through the bout and picked up the deserved win.

For Palmetta (18-2, 13 KO), it’s a big setback as far as hoping to really get into the welterweight title picture. The 32-year-old Argentine southpaw, a 2016 Olympian, just wasn’t able to get to the longer, taller James the way he needed, and while his pressure was consistent, it rarely paid off in any big way, and he wasn’t able to disrupt James’ rhythm or really turn the momentum in his own favor at any point.

“I’m pretty sure everyone can see the layoff affected me, I had a lot of rust on me. But I’m glad I was able to get in there against a tough guy like that, because it pushed me mentally,” James said after the fight. “I just wasn’t coming off as sharp as I know I should have been, but instead of getting too worried about it, I was just trying to adapt.”

He continued, “I definitely felt like I won the fight, but I believe I could have done a lot better. I know that I can be a lot sharper, I know my endurance is stronger. We just had a long time off and my body’s still getting back strong. I know I can be a champion again. I just need to stay focused, stay in the gym, live in the gym.”

Elvis Rodriguez MD-10 Joseph Adorno

Scores were 94-94, 95-93, and 97-91. Bad Left Hook unofficially had it 96-92 and 97-91 for Rodriguez on two separate cards.

Rodriguez (14-1-1, 12 KO) and Adorno (17-2-2, 14 KO) both started really slow here, but the fight picked up as it went along, and by the last few rounds it had turned into a really good battle.

Adorno got dropped hard in the seventh round, but bit down and threw back, showed a lot of grit and toughness. But he looked outgunned once Rodriguez got rolling. I do think there’s an argument — I don’t agree with it, personally — that Adorno may have won the first six rounds, which is how you get a 94-94 score, but most cards I saw online favored Rodriguez thanks to his work from about the fifth round on, definitely through the second half.

There was also a much more questionable knockdown call against Adorno in round 10, and in both knockdown cases, the referee was out of position. Adorno arguably could have had a knockdown scored in his favor earlier in the fight, too, and if those two things had gone the other way, maybe we see something different with the result.

But Adorno, 23, just doesn’t really look like he’s got the size to be a real player at 140. That said, he also couldn’t make 135 the last couple times he tried, and this was his fourth straight fight with a full 140 limit. And at any rate, it’s not like he was dominating as a lightweight or anything, either. He’s got talent, but there just seems to be a gear he doesn’t quite have. But he’s still very young, and if he doesn’t get frustrated and lose his focus, he might be the sort of guy who rallies. Listen, we saw it pretty recently from O’Shaquie Foster, we’ve seen it the last couple years with Maxi Hughes — it does happen.

Rodriguez, 27, complained about waiting 11 months since his last fight, and I think that’s fair. He should be fighting much more frequently, especially since he apparently would like to be doing exactly that. His ultimate upside still looks a bit short of true world level, but he can crack. If opponents are smart, they’ll read that he can be lulled to sleep a bit, and he was once again frustratingly passive for about four or five rounds in this one, but once both started throwing more, it was to his advantage.

Prelims results and highlights

  • VeShawn Owens UD-10 Kudratillo Abdukakhorov: The scores were 97-93, 98-92, and 99-91 for Minneapolis local Owens (14-3, 12 KO), which may have been a bit wide. This was a good, competitive fight, but it’s also worth noting that Abdukakhorov (18-2, 10 KO) didn’t exactly seem perplexed, let alone outraged, by the announcement. It’s also a pretty hard wall hit by Abdukakhorov, who once seemed on his way to a title shot but has now lost two straight to Cody Crowley and Owens, and at 29, where do you go from that? More fights like this, probably. He’s a talented boxer but he just doesn’t seem to have that extra gear to go to, and Owens did more backing Abdukakhorov down than vice versa. It’s clearly the best win of Owens’ career, and at 31, he’ll have more Armory dates in his future at the very least. PBC don’t lack for mid-range welters for him to fight, and he’s also fought up at 154 some.
  • Willie Jones KO-1 Derrick Jackson: An upset here, as Jackson (10-1, 5 KO) came in the unbeaten, A-side prospect, and then he just got smashed with a right hand from Jones (9-2, 6 KO), a 31-year-old Carolina club fighter who hadn’t fought in nearly two years. Back to the drawing board for Jackson, and for Jones, that’s now two “0s” he’s taken at The Armory.
  • Mickel Spencer TKO-1 Margarito Hernandez: Basically nothing to see here. Spencer — who spells his own name “Mickel” on his social media, was listed as “Mikkel” by Showtime press material, and is “Kel” at BoxRec — did target practice on Hernandez (3-5-1, 0 KO) and the fight was over pretty quickly. Spencer is now 3-0 (2 KO). At 18 years of age, he is a legit prospect and has a good amateur background. He’s also the younger adopted brother of Joey Spencer, the PBC 154 lb prospect.

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