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Guzman Outlasts Soto!

November 18, 2007

by Kurt Wolfheimer and Rick Scharmberg at ringside

photos by Emily Harney


Joan “The Sycuan Warrior” Guzman, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, successfully defended his WBO Junior Lightweight title for the second time, scoring a unanimous 12-round decision over WBC #2, WBO #3, and WBA #4-ranked contender Humberto “Zorrito” Soto, of Los Mochis, Mexico, last night at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey.


In the co-feature, Abner Mares, of Guadalajara, Mexico, defended his NABO bantamweight title for the first time with a 12-round unanimous decision over tough Damian Marchiano of San Nicholas, Argentina.


The card was promoted by Sycuan Ringside Promotions, Golden Boy, and Top Rank, and was televised on HBO Boxing After Dark.


Guzman (28-0, 17 KOs) came out strong, showing no signs of an 11-month layoff due to a hand injury. He came right at Soto (43-6-2, 27 KOs), firing from the hip with “knockout” written on every punch. Soto, being the taller fighter, moved forward behind a stiff jab. They traded freely in a close opening round.


Soto pressed forward in round two, as he would the entire fight. Both men landed big left hooks, before Guzman unloaded his entire arsenal looking to end matters early. Soto took Guzman’s best shots and came back to do some nice body work of his own.


Guzman countered nicely in round three, while slipping Soto’s shots. Guzman was warned for a head butt early in the round, but buckled Soto with a counter right hand shortly thereafter. Soto came back to stun Guzman with a right, before catching a low blow from Guzman. Referee Harvey Dock warned Guzman, and gave Soto a short reprieve, while Guzman shook off the effects of Soto’s right. Soto finished the round with a flurry along the ropes.


After three close rounds, Guzman got even sharper in rounds four through six. With the crowd behind him chanting “Guzman, Guzman”, Joan swept the next three rounds. In the fifth, Guzman tested Soto’s chin with a series of short counter rights, along with several left hook bombs thrown from the floor. Soto’s chin passed the test, but he didn’t win any of these rounds, although a swelling developed under Guzman’s left eye in the fifth round.


Guzman and Soto traded bombs in the center of the ring for most of round seven, with Soto having the slight edge in the round. Round eight was another close round, but Guzman won round nine big, punctuating it with a hard overhand right-left hook combination at the bell.


Things changed in round ten. Listening to trainer Floyd Mayweather’s advice, Guzman came out moving more, protecting what proved to be a big lead. Soto pressed the attack, looking to engage a suddenly reluctant Guzman.


Guzman continued to showboat in round eleven, taunting Soto with his hands at his waist. Soto would rough Guzman up whenever he could pin him in a corner or along the ropes. Guzman continued to run in round twelve, and the crowd, which was cheering him earlier, turned on him and booed.


Soto appeared to sweep the final three rounds, but two judges gave all three rounds to Guzman, and one judge gave Guzman two of the final three rounds. The final scores were 117-111 (twice) and 118-110 for Guzman. saw a closer fight, scoring for Guzman by a 115-113 margin.


“I figured that it would be a rough fight,” said Guzman after the bout. “I knew Soto could take a shot. I went 333 days without fighting. If I would have been in action more, would have fought even better.”


Regard his taking the final three rounds off, Guzman explained, “I listened to my corner and took a few rounds off and boxed a little more.”


Guzman expressed interest in facing Manny Pacquiao, but promoter Bob Arum expressed his doubt. “He [Guzman] looked brilliant in the first six rounds, but the crowd turned against him in the last four rounds. He took himself out of the Pacquiao sweepstakes, because it is not just winning the fight that makes you appealing,” he said. -- Rick Scharmberg



Mares Out-slugs Marchiano


Former Mexican Olympian and NABO champion, Abner Mares (15-0, 9 KOs) continued his quest for a world championship with a hard fought, but convincing 12-round unanimous decision over tough Argentinean, Damian Marchiano.


The bout opened with a feeling-out round for both fighters. It was clear a minute into the second round why Mares compiled a 112-8 record in the amateurs, as he threw crisp double and triple left jabs followed by right hands that kept Marchiano off balance.


Marchiano (14-3-1, 5 KOs) would not get frustrated though and connected with a short uppercut on the inside that bloodied the nose of Mares.


Mares got on the bicycle early in rounds three and four, which kept the Argentinean at bay with sharp jabs that were followed with the occasional right hand up top. Referee Sparkle Lee warned Marchiano for the second time in fight for hitting behind the head.


The former Olympian opened up his arsenal in round five, following up the left jabs with left hooks and right uppercuts on the inside that constantly snapped back the head of Marchiano. This would not deter him, though, as he continued to land the single powerful shots whenever he caught Mares on the ropes.


Mares went the body in round six in an attempt to stop Marchiano from pushing forward. A shot on the belt line sent Marchiano to the canvas, but Referee Sparkle Lee said it was low and gave Marchiano time to recover. The low blow appeared to energize Marchiano, who went on the attack with a heavy four-punch combination on the face of Mares in the corner.


Round seven was the best round of the fight for Marchiano. From the opening bell, he unleashed hard two- and three-punch combinations that continually found their mark, as his trunks turned a bright pink from the splatters of blood from Mares’ nose. The round was closed out by a sweeping overhand right from Marchiano that came close to changing the fight, but it just slid off the face of the champ.


The fight went back on the inside in rounds eight and nine, as Mares attacked the body while Marchiano returned heavy hooks on the inside up-top. The blood continued to flow from the nose of the Mexican and it seemed to help gain the confidence of Marchiano who attacked at the opening seconds of the tenth round with a four-punch combination, as his opponent was pinned in the corner. Mares weathered the storm and returned fire with two- and three-punch combinations late.


Round eleven was a key one for Mares, who again banged the body of Marchiano repeatedly. Marchiano showed he had abs of steel and countered with hooks up-top that actually stole the round on one judge’s scorecards.


Clearly ahead going into the final round, Mares should have boxed but he showed the heart of a future world champion with a huge left hook that had Marchiano reeling backwards across the ring. Marchiano was able to recover though, and clinched until the final bell sounded.


All three judges had the bout in favor of Mares by scores of 118-109 x 2 and 117-111 


“I knew he was going to be a tough,” Mares said afterward. “He came along way for this fight and was in great condition, but so was I and it showed. 


“He hurt me early, with a right hand and bloodied my nose, but I still thought I won all the rounds though,” continued Mares. “I really hurt Marchiano a few times myself during the fight. That body shot that sent him down was clean and I also had him going in the final round just before the bell sounded,” said Mares afterward. -- Kurt Wolfheimer



Hopkins Decisions Colin


Demetrius “The Gladiator” Hopkins of Philadelphia remained unbeaten with a unanimous decision over Enrique Colin, of Guasave, Mexico in a 10-round junior welterweight bout.


Speed was the story of this fight, and Hopkins (28-0-1, 11 KOs), the nephew of Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, had too much of it for the tough Mexican. Hopkins made Colin (23-4-3, 19 KOs) appear to be walking in cement, using deft movement that froze him in nearly every round.


Hopkins landed an assortment of power punches in round two, landing at the rate of about five to one of Colin’s punches. Hopkins fought smart, and tied Colin up whenever he got too close


In round four, Hopkins landed a nice counter left hook, a big right-left combo to the head, and a solid right to the chin, while Colin mustered several shots to the body in an attempt to slow Hopkins down.


Hopkins hurt Colin in round six, landing a big overhand right followed by a left hook that sent Colin back. Colin appeared to be wilting in round seven, after Hopkins landed a hard right, along with an eight punch combination with Colin against the ropes.


Colin turned southpaw in rounds eight and nine, only to be met with a diet of straight lead right hands which pierced his guard. Hopkins was just too shifty, as he closed the show with a dominating final round.


It was a one-sided bout, and the judges’ cards showed it. Two scored it 100-90, while the third judge had it 99-91, all for Demetrius Hopkins. -- Rick Scharmberg



Allen Outclasses Lopez


Rock Allen looked sharp in the first eight-round bout of his career, nearly pitching a shutout against the durable veteran Braulio Lopez in a junior welterweight bout.


Fighting near his hometown of Philadelphia for the first time in over a year, Allen came in sharp. Once the opening bell sounded, he was cool as a cucumber, letting fly with nice two- and three-punch combinations while staying out of range of the wild exchanges from Lopez.


Rounds two through six were almost identical, as Allen continually peppered Lopez, who never looked hurt and had one or two good exchanges in each round.


Allen changed his tactics in round seven and boxed his way to victory from the outside with movement all the way to the final bell to end the fight.


All three judges gave every round on the scorecards to Rock Allen (80-72 x 3). 


“I knew my key to the fight was to stay calm,” Allen said. “Sometimes I am a little anxious and I want to get that knockout because I am so close to home and my family is out there in the crowd watching me. I just stayed patient though and it worked as planned.”


Rock also explained why he let off the gas and changed his tactics late in the fight. “I started using my feet as the bout went on because my right side went numb. I am just glad that I have those other attributes that make me a complete fighter.”                    


Allen moves to a perfect 12-0, 7 KOs, while Braulio Lopez evens out at 6-6-1, 2 KOs. -- Kurt Wolfheimer



Garcia Hammers Denby


Making his professional debut, former amateur standout “Young, Swift” Danny Garcia, of Philadelphia scored a first-round KO over Michael Denby, of Salisbury, Maryland, in a scheduled four-round junior welterweight bout.


Garcia, a 2008 Olympic alternate, opened up by throwing bombs, but it was a short right that sent Denby to the floor. Another right put Denby down again in a neutral corner. Garcia moved in for the kill, and sent Denby down for the third and final time with a right-left combination.


After the third knockdown, referee Alan Huggins waved the bout over midway through his count after he realized Denby wasn’t getting up.


The time of the stoppage was 1:08 of the opening round. Garcia is now 1-0, with 1 KO, while Denby falls to 0-1-1. -- Rick Scharmberg



Legrand Wears Down Denson


Undefeated middleweight “Haitian” Diferson Legrand opened the card with an impressive four-round unanimous decision victory over James Denson of Akron, Ohio.


The fight began to steer in Legrand’s favor in round two, as he pinned Denson to the ropes several times, where he banged the body with two- and three-hook combinations.


By round three, it appeared the body-work was taking its toll on Denson, whose punch count slipped to only a few counters.


Legrand continued to bang Denson, who continued to lie on the ropes in the fourth and final round. Denson was tough though, and actually tried to press the action in the final seconds of the fight, but couldn’t land anything to back up Legrand.


All three judges scored the bout 39-37 for Legrand of New York, New York, who raised his record to 3-0, with 2 KOs. Denson loses for the first time in his career, falling to 2-1, with 1 KO. -- Kurt Wolfheimer



Madison Outworks Thompson


Heavyweight “King David” Darrel Madison made the trip down from West Islip, New York, and put on quite a show, consistently out-boxing Ryan Thompson over four one- sided rounds.


Madison, a southpaw, used strong right jabs and movement to keep Thompson off balance in the opening stanza. Thompson continually tried to land something big in round two, but Madison would slip under and bang a couple of hard shots to the body.


Madison controlled the ring in the final two rounds, doubling up on his jabs and using quick left hands to keep Thompson off balance and as the fight stayed in the center of the ring. Thompson, who won all his previous fights by KO, just couldn’t plant enough to connect with anything heavy in any round to slow down the movement and combinations of Thompson.


All three judges gave every round to Madison (40-36 x 3).


“I am in great condition,” Madison stated. “I am a heavyweight who spars with a lot of fighters who are lighter than me, which helps in my hand speed. I am the first to get in the gym and almost the last to leave.”


Madison improves to 7-1, with 3 KOs. Thompson, of Cleveland, Ohio, drops to 3-2, with 3 KOs. -- Kurt Wolfheimer





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