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K-9 kayos Spinks again

Ringside by David Robinett
Photos by Robert Hughes

Immediately after Cornelius "K-9" Bundrage successfully defended his IBF junior middleweight title on "ShoBox: The New Generation" with a seventh round TKO over Cory Spinks at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, discussion centered on whether his performance vaulted him into consideration as a potential opponent for Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on September 15th.

A second storyline developed after the fight though when it was learned that Bundrage was losing on two of the three judges cards at the time of the stoppage in a fight he was in firm control of throughout, including a first round knockdown of Spinks. Amazingly, judges Gwen Adair and Robert Byrd had Spinks winning four rounds to two (57-56 Spinks), while the third judge Fernando Villarreal gave three rounds to each fighter (57-56 Bundrage). Spinks had some good moments in the fight, but through six rounds Spinks was winning this fight about as convincingly as Tim Bradley beat Manny Pacquiao.

Nevertheless, Bundrage saved the judges from themselves and the sport from further embarrasment as he knocked Spinks down a total of four times en route to a referee's stoppage at 2:32 of round seven in a rematch of their IBF Junior Middleweight title fight in 2010, which Bundrage also won by TKO.

"I felt like I was going to get him," said Bundrage, (32-4, 19 KOs), after the fight. "You can't stand up to all that fire and I was bringing the fire tonight."

In the bout's opening round it was the former champion Spinks, (39-7, 11 KOs), who was the aggressor, moving forward behind quick, snapping jabs that Bundrage mostly parried but was unable to effectively counter, firing harmlessly over Spinks' head with big right hands early on. However, Bundrage continued load up on the right hand and his persistence paid off as he connected flush with a straight right to the head that dropped Spinks onto the seat of his pants with 30 seconds remaining. Spinks was up quickly and made it through the round by grabbing Bundrage as he rushed in to finish, resulting in both fighters tumbling to the canvas in a tangle as the round ended.

Round two was more of the same as Bundrage connected early with a stiff left hook to the head causing Spinks to clinch to avoid further punishment. With Spinks wrapped around his chest Bundrage unloaded several unanswered left hands onto Spinks' head to free himself as the two spun towards the ropes. Bundrage followed with a thudding right hook to the body moments later and punctuated round two with a hard right hook after a break that drew a warning from referee Ray Corona.

The fight evened out in round three as both fighters spent most of the round circling each other and trading jabs. Spinks likely won the round with a stiff jab that landed flush on Bundrage's chin and seemed to momentarily stun the champion. The middle rounds were close but it was clear the harder, more effective punches were landed by Bundrage while Spinks stayed competitive with his defense and ability to connect with light, slapping punches and jabs in between Bundrage's bombs.

However, Bundrage put an end to matters in round seven. Just seconds into the round, Bundrage crushed Spinks with a right hook to the face that dropped him for the second time in the fight. Unlike the first knockdown, Spinks was seriously hurt when he rose from the canvas, just beating the referee's count. Bundrage immediately landed a leaping right hand that had Spinks holding on for dear life. Moments later Bundrage landed another right hand while rushing towards a backpedaling Spinks that dropped Spinks under the ropes. Spinks again barely beat the count, rising at nine. Spinks tried to clinch his way to the end of the round but Bundrage was all over him, dropping him for the third time in the round, and fourth time overall, with another right hand when Ray Corona stepped in without administering a count. Time of the stoppage was 2:32 of round seven.

After the fight Bundrage threw his hat into the "Canelo" sweepstakes.

"I'm the Black Rocky, let's get it on, we want Canelo," said Bundrage. "I think it will be a good fight. I come to fight, I don't even think about jabbing. He's a fighter, I'm a fighter, let's get it on."

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Russell Jr. Steamrolls Perez!

2008 Olympian Gary Russell Jr., returned from a 7-month layoff to brush aside overmatched Christopher Perez by TKO at 1:41 of round three in a scheduled ten-round featherweight bout. Russell, (20-0, 12 KOs), who lost out on his chance for an Olympic medal in 2008 when he was hospitalized trying to make weight in Beijing, has been very impressive as a professional and was not expected to be seriously tested by Perez.

There were no surprises Saturday night for Russell. Although he started slowly, Russell dropped Perez with a minute remaining in round two with a left hook, right hook combination to the head. Russell patiently followed up with combinations to the body with Perez in retreat until the bell.
In round three Russell was all over Perez, dropping him early in the round with left hook to the head that sent Perez onto the bottom rope. Perez gamely stood back up but was promptly dropped again with a lightning-quick combination to the head. Perez rose one final time as Russell methodically stalked him around the ring before coming out of a crouch to throw a right hook that sent Perez back down to the canvas. At that point, referee Pat Russell had seen enough and called a halt to the fight.

With the loss, Perez falls to 23-3 with 14 KOs.

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Lara Grinds Past Hernandez

In the first bout of Saturday's ShoBox: The New Generation tripleheader, Cuban amateur star Erislandy Lara made his claim for a fight with "Canelo" Alvarez with an efficient, if unspectacular, ten-round unanimous decision over former title challenger Freddy Hernandez by scores of 99-90, 98-91, and a too-close 95-94, in a ten-round junior middleweight contest.

The southpaw Lara, (17-1-1, 11 KOs), was in control from the opening bell, keeping Hernandez at bay with his right jab and sneaking in quick lead right and left hooks before Hernandez could counter. When Hernandez, (30-3, 20 KOs), tried to dig to the body, Lara brought his arms in close to defend effectively and appeared unconcerned.

Hernandez tried to press the action more in round two, trying left jab, right hand combinations, but was sent backpedaling after Lara answered with a stiff straight left hand to the body. Hernandez had difficulty landing cleanly on Lara, resorting to wide punches to get around Lara's guard or missing altogether due to Lara's shifty movement.

Hernandez continued to come forward in rounds three and four but Lara would stop only long enough to land a quick punch or two-punch combinations before moving away. During moments where Lara allowed Hernandez to come in close, Hernandez was unable to figure out how to get past Lara's well-placed arms to land cleanly. Hernandez continued to throw punches at a steady rate, but very few actually landed.

The fighters settled into this pattern of Hernandez's futile aggression versus Lara's effective potshotting through the middle rounds, interrupted briefly near the end of round six when an apparent intentional headbutt by Lara riled up the crowd and caused Hernandez to step up his attack and chase Lara around the ring trying to land a big punch, to no avail. Lara did not receive a penalty for that offense but was deducted a point by referee Wayne Hedgepeth shortly after the start of round seven when what appeared to be an accidental clash of heads opened a large cut over Hernandez's right eye.

Notwithstanding the drama in rounds six and seven, the bout returned to form in the final three rounds, with Lara boxing safely and Hernandez unable to mount any serious threat. For Lara, the wait is on now to see if he gets the chance at glory and a career-high payday against "Canelo" Alvarez or if he'll continue to feast on journeymen for the foreseeable future.

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In Other Action

Sharp-looking amateur standout Antonio Orozco, (15-0, 11 KOs), continued his ascent up the pro ranks with a third round TKO over Albert Cruz, Jr., (9-4, 8 KOs), in a scheduled eight-round welterweight bout.

Orozco, who like of Victor Ortiz and Brandon Rios spent part of his childhood in the unlikely boxing hotbed of Garden City, Kansas, appeared significantly stronger and larger than Cruz despite both fighters weighing in just under 142 pounds. Cruz was game and tried to fight back but he had neither the speed nor the skill to overcome Orozco's strength advantage. Orozco was particularly effective with his left hook to the body and right uppercut and by the end of round three Cruz seemed resigned to defeat as he walked back to his corner. Despite suffering no visible injury, referee Pat Russell stopped the bout on the advice of the ringside physician officially at the end of the third round.

In the evening's opening bout, hometown fighter Javier Barragan suffered his first defeat at the hands of Christian Lorenzo by referee's stoppage 49 seconds into round three of a scheduled four-round flyweight contest.

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After an even first round, Barragan, (2-1, 2 KOs), was in all kinds of trouble as the aggressive Lorenzo, (2-1, 1 KO), landed several unanswered punches that staggered Barragan and had the referee watching closely for an opportunity to step in. Lorenzo, no doubt aided by the lack of return fire coming from his opponent after round one, displayed an impressive arsenal, including a double-left hook, right uppercut combination that initially hurt Barragan in round two. Another right uppercut by Lorenzo that landed in round three left Barragan bobbing defenseless in the center of the ring, prompting referee Wayne Hedgepeth to jump in and save the young Indio fighter from further punishment.

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The five-bout card was presented by Golden Boy Promotions.


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