Jamel Herring Takes Masayuki Ito’s Title via Unanimous Decision
You didn’t really think Iraq war veteran and former Marine Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring was going to lose on Memorial Day Weekend, did you? In a fight which he dedicated to his daughter, who would be turning ten on fight night, had she not died of SIDS as a baby? You didn’t, did you?
After entering the ring, accompanied by a crowd of Marines (whom he individually thanked before the fight, lest you think it was an empty publicity stunt), Herring thoroughly outboxed Masayuki “The Judge” Ito (who entered the ring holding a gavel). So thoroughly dominant was Herring that the ESPN commentating crew, who had been singing Ito’s praises before the fight, felt the need to bring up Ito’s complete lack of amateur experience, compared to Herring having been a former Olympian. In the end, Herring would take a unanimous 118-110, 118-110, 116-112 decision and become the new WBO Super Featherweight champion.
Herring had another advantage on fight night; he’s been working with Terence “Bud” Crawford who was present at the fight and screaming instructions the entire time. Those instructions mainly involved staying away from Ito’s right hand, though the ESPN commentating team was treating it like it was Deontay Wilder’s right hand. Ito’s right hand is good, but it’s not what they were making it out to be.
Miguel Berchelt, the WBC Super Featherweight champion, was present at the fight and entered the ring shortly after. It was a cordial meeting, as it appears a unification bout between Berchelt and Herring is up next. If Berchelt is smart, he’ll make sure the fight is on a mundane weekend.
Pedraza Picks up First Stoppage Win in Five Years with Ninth-Round TKO Victory
Coming off a loss to Vasiliy Lomachenko that cost him his WBO lightweight title, Jose “The Sniper” Pedraza bounced back and picked up his first stoppage win in five years when he stopped Antonio Lozada in the ninth round. It wasn’t quite “one shot, one kill” from Pedraza, as he systematically broke down the pressure fighter over the course of the fight. His straight left hand to the body was the shot he most consistently targeted Lozada with, and the one that was doing the most damage. He also got in on the stance-switching trend with some degree of success, though he was most effective fighting as a Southpaw.
To his credit, Lozada never stopped coming forward, though he was picked apart every time he did. As Tim Bradley pointed out on the broadcast, all he was doing was walking himself into a knockout. Those words seemed prophetic when, in the ninth round, Lozada came forward straight into a straight left hand on the chin that put him on the canvas. A quick flurry from Pedraza later, and Lozada’s dad was on the ring apron waving off the fight.
Before the fight, Pedraza was talking about moving up to 140, but after he seemed to imply, he would be sticking around at lightweight.
Austin Trout and Terrell Gausha Fight to Controversial Split Draw
At 33 years old, Austin “No Doubt” Trout doesn’t have it anymore. Unfortunately, that was the consensus opinion that emerged after he and Terrell Gausha fought to a split draw, with scores of 99-91 Gausha, 96-94 Trout, and 95-95. Officially it was a split draw, but that’s not how most people saw the fight. Most people saw Gausha as the clear victor having outboxed an either rusty or shot Trout throughout the fight, and if their reactions to the decision were any indication, Trout might have known it too.
Gausha seemed pretty relaxed about the result, and indicated he had no desire for a rematch because he felt confident he had won this matchup, saying, “Sometimes you don’t get the decision. I’ve been through a lot in this camp, but it is what it is. I caught a bad cold the last week, and my father passed away during this camp. “I feel like I want to do bigger and better things. I feel like I won the fight.”
Trout on the other hand, was dying for a rematch. He told the media after the fight, “Hell no. Let’s do it again. That wasn’t right. Let’s get it again. Hey that’s after a year layoff. The timing is off. We need to do that again. I need an immediate rematch. Immediately.” Before continuing, “I have to prove that it's not ring rust and I hope it's not me. In sparring I was sharp, but if I can't perform in the ring, then it's me."
It's not Gausha’s fault he didn’t get the decision, so it’s not fair for him to have to beat Trout again. He is right to move on. For Trout, the addition of Floyd Mayweather Sr. doesn’t appear to have paid off in any major way for him. Maybe it was just ring rust, but probably not.
Devin Haney Lands Monstrous Right Hand to KO Antonio Moran
Devin Haney deserves to be so cocky, because he is very good. See, while Antonio Moran had been beaten three times before, he had never been stopped as a professional. One colossal overhand right from Devin Haney in the seventh round of their fight on Saturday night, changed that in an instant.
Deontay Wilder has the “knockout of the year” award seemingly in the bag at this point. His one punch KO of Dominic Breazale was in the first round, he’s more widely known, and as a heavyweight his shot was far more powerful than Haney’s. Plus, Haney was cruising in the fight anyway, the knockout was just the cherry on top of his performance. But that shouldn’t diminish what Haney did.
Up next for “The Dream” is likely a matchup with undefeated Russian Zaur Abdallaev in August. The winner of that fight will be the mandatory opponent for the winner of Lomachenko-Campbell’s WBC belt, but it Bob Hearn said no matter what, a Haney-Lomachenko matchup is unlikely to happen anytime soon. After his KO on Saturday, that may be smart.
Hughie Fury Stops Chris Norrad in Two
Coming off a decision loss to Kubrat Pulev, that saw him travel to Pulev’s home nation of Bulgaria, Tyson Fury’s cousin Hughie, scored a second-round stoppage of overmatched Canadian fighter Chris Norrad. Fury landed a right hand on the top of Norrad’s head that dropped him, and although he got up and looked fine (and complained that the shot was to the back of the head, which it might have been), the referee opted to end the obvious mismatch before anything worse happened.
Chordale Baker Decisions Wale Omotoso
Chordale Baker won every round of his fight with Wale Omotoso, but the man who calls himself “Lucky Boy” has never been knocked down in a professional prizefight and wasn’t going to let it happen on Saturday. So, even with Baker unloading on him in the ninth round, Omotoso shook off the punches and managed to remain both upright and conscious. Baker broke down crying after the fight, which many on social media found interesting because it wasn’t even a title fight, but for those familiar with how his life could have turned out, it wasn’t anything to scoff at.
Olympian Antonio Vargas Suffers Shocking First-Round KO
Antonio Vargas was a 2016 US Olympian, who entered the weekend 10-0 as a professional. Unfortunately, he would suffer a shocking first round KO when Jose Maria Cardenas -- who was coming off two straight losses -- landed a right hand on the button that had the Olympian falling face first onto the canvas. Cardenas had 13 knockouts in 16 fights, so this was always a possibility, but this was still a shocking loss.
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