Mohamed Soumaoro looked tremendous in this fight. He looked strong, sharp, and well rounded, and picked up his first knockout win since 2019. He was great for the second time on ProBox TV, and he’ll surely be back again.
With that out of the way, the story of this fight was the borderline criminal negligence of Angel Vazquez’s corner, and to only a slightly lesser degree, referee Michael DeJesus.
A clash of heads in the 1st round seemed to compromise Vazquez’s balance a little bit, and it wasn’t long before Vazquez (12-1, 6 KO) had a broken nose and was bleeding through an open mouth. Soumaoro (13-1, 6 KO) pounded Vazquez to close out the 4th, and it looked like the fight might not last much longer. Unfortunately, we were only halfway done.
Vazquez was far, far too tough for his own good. This one could have been stopped after 4, probably should have been stopped after 5. The commentary team spent the entire second half of the fight repeatedly calling for the fight to be stopped. Not only was it allowed to continue, but referee Michael DeJesus never stepped in to warn the Vazquez corner about accumulated damage. Tip of the hat to the production team, which took the unusual approach of showing us DeJesus between rounds, not even calling a doctor over for a brief evaluation.
DeJesus stepped in to warn fighters about pushing off, but didn’t intervene to save Vazquez. Even Soumaoro seemed to gesture at Vazquez’s corner at one point. Still, nothing. Vazquez spent multiple rounds moving like he was underwater, retreating constantly and unsteadily, and never really hurting or even threatening Soumaoro at any point past the 2nd round. Finally, mercifully, the corner stopped things after a neck-snapping uppercut late in the 8th round.
Several minutes after the finish, Vazquez was wobbling and unsteady on the stool when Soumaoro walked over to shake hands. It was an ugly, troubling sight. Hopefully, he’s already on his way to a hospital, and DeJesus wakes up tomorrow to a reprimand or a suspension from the Florida Athletic Commission. Hell, arrest Vazquez’s cornerman for attempted murder for good measure, too.
We’ve seen far too many tragedies play out like this fight did. Shameful display from the people responsible for protecting a brave young fighter too tough or concussed to protect himself.
Axl Melendez MD-6 Demontaze Duncan
The chief support was short but very sweet, all action from the opening bell. 20 year old Demontaze Duncan fought for the first time outside of his native Kentucky, and took on by far the sternest test of his young career in Axl Melendez, who rattled the younger man early in the first round on a counter short right hook.
Short hooks and counters proved a reliable weapon for Melendez (6-0, 4 KO), who was relentless and smothering throughout. Melendez has fewer pro fights than Duncan (8-1, 8 KO), but he’s 8 years older, with a lot of sparring experience against world level fighters, and he used that to press and bully Duncan in the first half. Duncan managed to create some space starting in the 4th, and had much greater success from then on, making a case for himself in each of the final three rounds.
Ultimately, Melendez’s early work gave him too big a lead for Duncan to overcome in a six round fight. Official scores were 58-56 and 58-56 for Melendez, with the third judge scoring it a 57-57 draw. Bad Left Hook had it unofficially 58-56 for Melendez, and anything from 5-1 Melendez to a draw felt reasonable.
Fantastic effort both ways, with Melendez seldom giving Duncan any breathing room, but Duncan making some adjustments that could make this a positive learning experience rather than an insurmountable setback. Excellent entertainment, well worth a replay if you didn’t see it live. Both men would be a welcome sight on future shows.
ALL OUT WAR— ProBox TV (@ProBox_TV) March 23, 2023
Demontaze Duncan and Axl Melendez put on a war over 6 rounds on ProBox TV. How did you score it?#probox #proboxtv #boxing #boxeo pic.twitter.com/i37ScrSdcG
Omar Rosario KO-1 Zach Hill
Not much to say about a quick night and successful ProBox debut for Omar Rosario. Rosario (10-0, 3 KO) isn’t known for being a knockout artist, but he landed a series of body punches that broke down Zach Hill in less than a round.
Hill (3-4, 2 KO) was active, obviously came to fight, and suffered through a particularly bad hook to the left side of his stomach that folded him in half, but didn’t put him all the way down. But, Hill couldn’t hang on through one or two more, and the accumulated body damage ended the fight about 30 seconds before the end of the 1st round.
PUERTO RICO POWER— ProBox TV (@ProBox_TV) March 23, 2023
Omar Rosario registered a first round KO against Zach Hill in our opening bout tonight on ProBox TV. #probox #proboxtv #boxing #boxeo pic.twitter.com/V9fOlOIzRH