LAS VEGAS — Golden Boy treated hardcore fans to a solid card last night at the MGM Grand headlined by Shawn Porter vs. Julio Diaz. Below is a short recap of the entire card of fights, including several of the untelevised bouts.
Welterweight – Shawn Porter (21-0, 14 KOs) vs. Julio Diaz (40-8-1, 29 KOs): This rematch wasn’t close on the cards, but it was amazing to watch due to the amount of flush shots Diaz took. Coming off the Khan robbery (yes, Diaz won that handily), Diaz said he was determined to not lose this one. Porter, who had the faster hands and higher strength despite being shorter, was able to bully Diaz and rip heavy uppercuts and hooks to the body. Not to mention, Porter fought like a man pissed off about the first bout and ready to remove all doubt about who was the better man. Diaz did his best to return fire but didn’t have the power to bother Porter. In fact, Porter never really bothered Diaz either; despite landing his Sunday best in every round of the fight, Diaz was never close to going down. Kind in mind this is Julio Diaz, who’s never been known for having the greatest punch resistance. With that said, it says a lot that Porter was able to handle Diaz much better than Khan did.
Super Middleweight – Badou Jack (15-0, 10 KOs) vs. Marco Antonio Periban (20-1, 13 KOs): Badou Jackraised his stock even in this majority draw against Periban (94-96, 95-95 twice). Early, it looked like Jack had bit off way more than he could chew; Periban was outworking him inside with short combinations, and outside with quick, varied hooks. But Periban’s stamina betrayed him and Jack took full advantage in the middle rounds by landing explosive right and left hooks. Periban’s face opened up with blood and swelling. By the eighth, Jack appeared on the verge of a stoppage.
However, Periban dug deep in the final two rounds and mustered a higher workrate despite Jack landing the harder shots. It was that effort that earned him the draw. An undercard rematch on a future Golden Boy card needs to happen. My pick for the best fight of the night.
Junior Middleweight – Hugo Centeno (19-0, 10 KOs) vs. Julian Williams (13-0-1, 7 KOs): The most disappointing fight of the evening. Williams came to fight and had Centeno perplexed on how to attack (the left hooks had Centeno trying to box off the backfoot and jab his way to victory). After a clash of heads, Centeno visited the doctor’s corner and apparently couldn’t make out the fingers the ringside doctor was holding up. Williams was rightly pissed; the “no-contest” came off like a fighter not prepared to deal with a difficult style and finding a way out. Williams and members of Centeno’s entourage got into it on the way back to the dressing room.
Junior Middleweight – Jermall Charlo (15-0, 11 KOs) vs. Rogelio De La Torre (10-3, 6 KOs): Charlo towered over De La Torre so much that they looked about two weight classes apart. That didn’t deter De La Torre, who made the early rounds difficult on Charlo by punching in combination inside and keeping up the pressure. After getting stunned by a straight left in the fourth, Charlo got angry (and focused) in the fifth, keeping De La Torre at mid-range and raining down heavy left hooks and right hands. It wouldn’t be until the 7th when two left hooks put De La Torre down for good to end it.
Not sure if Charlo underestimated his foe, but he displayed some clear holes in his game (namely a leaking defense punctuated by a lack of head movement and getting gunshy when punches were coming his way). Credit to him for making the adjustments, but it’ll be interesting how he handles elite guys his size. It’s getting to be that time soon to get him in with a guy in the top 20-15.
Junior Middleweight – Errol Spence (7-0, 6 KOs) vs. Jesus Tavera (5-3, 1 KO): Meh, another mismatch. Tavera felt the power early and went on the run. Didn’t matter much after Spence landed a whipping left uppercut to the body. Tavera crumpled to the canvas, made it up, and return to his knees after Spence blitzed him on the ropes with a series of hooks. I’m more interested in seeing Spence’s gym work (which is rumored to include a KO or buzzing of Adrien Broner and knockdown of Floyd Mayweather) at this point.
Super Bantamweight Diego De La Hoya (Debut) vs. Luis Cosme (8-3, 3 KOs): Outside of some nervous energy in the first that saw him eat a few left hook counters, Oscar’s nephew easily handled Luis Cosme. He ripped 3-4 punch combinations regularly and found a useful weapon early in the third; a slashing right uppercut. After he combined it with his left hook (I wonder where he learned that from?), Cosme was quickly stumbling around the ring. De La Hoya punctuated his pro win with an ending combo of about 20 punches for a knockdown and stoppage. De La Hoya TKO3 Cosme. Good introduction and we know Golden Boy will closely cover his rise in the sport.
Lightweights – Robert Easter (6-0, 6 KOs) vs. Lance Williams (6-1, 6 KOs): Easter is a member of Adrien Broner’s “Band Camp” click, and that was readily apparent by Easter’s shoulder roll stance. He used his height to pepper Williams with jabs and force him to lunge in. When that happened, the left hooks followed and so did the knockdowns. After three of them, referee Jay Nady called it off. Easter TKO1 Williams. Easy work.
Middleweights – Terrell Guasha (5-0, 3 KOs) vs. Bruce Runkle (4-2-1): It’s like a rite of passage for prospects these days to get a couple hopeless guys from West Virigina to smack around. Tonight, Bruce Runkle was that fighter. Guasha had him moving backward from the outset with counter straight rights and left hooks. Pressed on the ropes, a cluster of shots made him take a knee. A second, much harder knockdown followed courtesy of a double left hook that ended matters. Guasha TKO1 Runkles. It was less than a round, but Guasha places his punches well and works the body. It will be interesting to see where’s he at in about 7-10 more fights.
Paulie Malignaggi was on hand handling commentating duties. The biggest ovations of the night were for Mike Tyson and Bernard Hopkins. Zab Judah, Marcos Maidana, Alfredo Angulo, and even Kid Frost of all people, got respectful applause. Only Adrien Broner got some scattered boos.