Rogelio Medina scored a huge upset. | Photo: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime
Most who follow boxing felt that unbeaten contender J’Leon Love would topple struggling Rogelio Medina and quickly be knocking on the door of the super middleweight division’s top 10. Though very few expected him to blow through the man called “Porky,” Love was a heavy favorite going into the ShoBox main event on Showtime.
What transpired inside the squared circle on Saturday night was nothing short of spectacular.
Love moved away from the Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, native as soon as the fight began. Love typically has always been a mover inside the ring, but he was moving a little more than usual and couldn’t find a rhythm for his jabs and counters. Medina pressed the action throughout the first two rounds, but had extreme difficulty in closing the gap to land anything clean. Still, the tough hombre plugged away, hoping to break the barrier that was Love’s movement and defense.
However, sometimes in boxing all it takes is one shot to change things and that’s exactly what transpired early in the third. Medina trapped the Las Vegas-based Michigan native in a corner and popped him with a right hand. Love tried to slip away out the side door, but “Porky” was all over him and unloaded a hellish left hook that exploded the second it connected with Love’s jaw.
Love was instantly out and while he fell face first toward the ropes, Medina followed up the hand grenade with another right hand. Love quickly collapsed onto his stomach, his legs shaking violently. As veteran referee Tony Weeks administered the count, Love could barely unfreeze his stiffened body. Finally, when Weeks reached the count of eight, Love tried valiantly to climb to his feet, but he stumbled forward into the ropes and was effectively counted out in the process.
The official time of the shocking knockout came just 39 seconds into the third frame, crippling Love’s perfect pro ledger and halting any and all forward progress toward the upper echelon of the 168-pound division. The near-capacity Pearl inside the Palms Resort was eerily silent when Love (18-1, 10 KOs) was torched, in complete disbelief that Medina (33-6, 27 KOs), who had lost as much as he had won recently, triumphantly exited the ring.
The last time the boxing world saw Badou Jack, the super middleweight contender was stumbling around the ring and eventually stopped in the very first round. Saturday was his comeback fight and, as expected, he was very tentative early on. But after the Stockholm native was able to get past the mental block of being knocked out, he out-boxed Jason Escalera the rest of the way and coasted to a unanimous 10-round decision.
Jack was effective with his left jab and occasional right hand, but he never engaged Escalera the way many were hoping, which led to a relatively dull fight. In the end, Jack’s safety-first approach paid dividends as he won a lopsided decision via tallies of 100-90 (twice) and 99-91 to improve to 17-1-1 with 11 KOs. Escalera, who hails from Union City, N.J., fell to 15-3-1 with 12 KOs.
Elsewhere, unbeaten super middleweight prospect Ronald Gavril took another step in the right direction with a solid performance against Thomas Falowo. Gavril, fighting out of Las Vegas but originally from Bacau, Romania, took his time with Falowo but eventually got what most expected: the knockout. Gavril dropped his opponent with a sizzling straight right hand over the jab in the third, but his passive aggression allowed Falowo back into the fight.
After a few rounds of “Soul Jah” peppering Gavril with jabs and pesky right hands, Gavril opened up the body attack, which led to the stoppage. Finally in the seventh, “The Thrill” unfurled a stinging right hand that wobbled his foe’s knees and then swarmed him along the ropes until referee Robert Byrd stepped in and waved it off. The official time of the TKO came at 2:14 of the frame, allowing Gavril to improve to 10-9 with his eighth pro knockout. For his efforts, Falowo, from Pawtucket, R.I., dropped to 12-3 with eight KOs.
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