MACAO, China — Two-time Olmypic gold medalist Zou Shiming had no problems in his pro debut as he easily shut out Eleazar Valenzuela over four rounds. For the past month, Top Rank has placed a lot of marketing muscle behind Shiming, who they hope to position as the Yao Ming of boxing. But this isn’t a team sport, and the scrutiny and skepticism is much higher when you’re being paid $300,000 without having proven anything in the professional realm. Did Shiming deliver, or have we seen the beginning of a fighter destined to flop?
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE WIDE OPEN: Zou Shiming has fast hands, I’ll give him that. He realized quickly that Valenzuela was very slow and countered him very effectively for all four rounds. Other good points? Well… he has a lot of enthusiasm.
Now onto the glaring problems. Shiming throws very wide and telegraphed shots. And when I say wide, I mean VERY WIDE. He doesn’t seem to have much punching power (which ties into how he throws his punches), so the threat of a KO shot isn’t there to offset his recklessness once he faces a capable fighter.
You might be thinking I should give him a little more slack considering it’s his first professional fight. Unfortunately for Shiming, time isn’t really on his side. Already 31 years of age, Top Rank and HBO have already discussed the possibility on him getting a title shot in under 10 fights.
Even so, Top Rank and HBO would be wise to extend this out as long as possible. Maybe Freddie Roach can at least improve his punching technique in the meantime.
If the below comments on HBO’s boxing Twitter page are any indication, Shiming’s prospects of crossing over with American audiences isn’t high. But Top Rank’s plan all along was to gain a strong foothold with Chinese audiences; in that regard, this card was a success. The quality isn’t that high, but the last two rounds of the fight are below.
Unless some drastic improvements happen over the next 1-2 years, Shiming is in a rude awakening once he gets his first title shot. We can already bet he most definitely won’ ever fight the two flyweights named below…
ESTRADA UPSETS VILORIA: It was a cruel twist of irony for Brian Viloria, who’s greatest successes of the past few years have been confined to obscure pay-per-views and Youtube clips. After years of hard work, he finally got his big break on HBO tonight only to get beaten handily by Juan Francisco Estrada.
Viloria landed his best punches over the first half but couldn’t make a serious dent on his formidable challenger, who maintained a high workrate that started paying huge dividends by the championship rounds. Estrada punished Viloria badly with uppercuts inside in the 10th and was close to a stoppage in rounds 11 and 12. Vilora was so spent in these rounds from the battering that he could barely throw any punches to defend himself.
The scorecards of 117-111 and 116-111 for Estrada were correct. The one bizarre score from judge Levi Martinez, who scored it 115-113 for Viloria, shows he should be placed far away from any future major fights.
Watch the full fight in its entirety below via @SweetBoxing
ROCKY MARTINEZ ESCAPES AGAIN: I watched ringisde as Rocky Martinez escaped Madison Square Garden in January by earning a draw against Juan Carlos Burgos. He was much better tonight proving his case in taking a split decision over previously undefeated Diego Magdaleno.
Like in the Burgos fight, Martinez was having a hard time early on dealing with Magdaleno’s hooks to the body. The problem for Magdaleno was that he fought in spurts while letting Martinez come forward and keep him under pressure. That, coupled with a nice 1-2 that dropped Magdaleno in the fourth, gave Martinez the edge in the judges eyes via scores of 115-112, 114-113 and 111-116.
This fight is also online in its entirety courtesy of @SweetBoxing