Matthysse stops Ajose
Ringside by Anthony Springer Jr. & Andreas Hale
Photos by Mary Ann Owen / BoxinginLasVegas.com
Although a much anticipated main event battle between Devon Alexander and Randall Bailey was scrapped due to Bailey's back injury, the co-featured bout of Shobox's telecast at the Hard Rock Hotel provided more than enough fireworks to make up for the loss. Unfortunately, all of the explosions came courtesy of Lucas Matthysse detonating bombs on Olusegun Ajose's chin before finally getting the Nigerian to succumb to the devastation at the 2:59 mark in the 10th round and claim the interim WBC super lightweight title.
If there was ever a more exciting one-sided beat down, we have yet to see it.
The previously unbeaten Ajose -- who fell to 30-1 -- wasted no time proving that he came to fight and wasn't going to back down to the heavy handed Matthysse. However, he regrettably woke up a monster far too early from his slumber as Matthysse put on an epic and brutal power punching display. In the second round, a ruthless series of hooks from the Argentinean plowed with devastating succession into Ajose's face and body. The blows sent Ajose reeling around the ring like a crash test dummy as he attempted to get his bearings. Although it looked like Ajose's night would be cut short, the will of the WBC's #1 contender kept him around much longer. What started as a question of "when" Matthysse would knock Ajose out became a inquiry of "what" exactly was keeping Ajose on his feet as the rounds went by. Round after round Matthysse slammed blows into Ajose's face that would have put a hurting on an automobile. But somehow Ajose remained upright and even had the gall to keep coming forward.
There were several moments where "The Gun" would spring to life and catch Matthysse with combinations. The problem was that "The Gun" wasn't loaded with enough firepower to give the Argentinean reason to not plow forward and Ajose simply ended up being unloaded upon with an unhealthy diet of hooks, straight right hands and body punches. Despite the distinct power advantage, Ajose decided to remain in the pocket in the middle round and attempt to use his offense to slow down Matthysse rather than get on his bicycle. But Matthysse's pacing was impeccable and he never punched himself out heading into the 10th round.
After another round of wince inducing power punches, Matthysse unloaded a perfectly placed right hand that sent Ajose back into the ropes. A follow up straight right hand detonated on the Nigerian's face as Ajose finally crumbled to the canvas for the first time in his career. Referee Russell Mora had finally seen enough and mercifully called a halt to the bout with one second left in the round.
"I finally got my belt," Matthysse (33-2, 30 KOs) said about being the newly minted interim WBC super lightweight champion afterwards. "But it was a tough fight. I thought I had him a few times but he's a tough fighter. I worked really hard for this belt and finally accomplished my dream. I'll fight anybody but it will be hard for anyone to take this from me."
Ajose, though beaten, had nothing to be ashamed of with one of the most stellar displays of courage ever witnessed in the ring. "He's the hardest puncher I ever fought," said an understandably disenchanted Ajose. " I'm not taking anything away from him, but I was inactive and haven't fought in a long time. I could have done better. A good champ falls down and gets back up and that's what I'm going to do." -- Andreas Hale
Bizarre finish punctuates one sided win for Leon
J'Leon Love continued his winning ways, but his victory in the co-featured bout over Ramon Valenzuela may not have been as satisfying as he'd hope. After a seven round beat down, the undefeated fighter out of Las Vegas was awarded the win after Valenzuela got himself disqualified.
The trouble started late in the seventh frame after Love rocked Valenzuela with a hard left hook. With the Chicagoan on the run, Love went in for the kill. After a flurry of punches in the final ten seconds failed to end the fight, Valenzuela attempted an MMA-style double leg and tried to dump Love over the ropes.
"I was laughing," Love said after the bout. "Are you serious? We're on TV. It is what it is. With a frustrated guy, You never know what he's going to do."
Love continued the onslaught immediately in the eighth round, landing a hard right hand in the opening moments.
With Valenzuela cut under the right eye, Love continued the flurry of shots, catching the face and body. In a déjà vu moment, Valenzuela tried to dump Love over the ropes again, prompting the disqualification at the 37 second mark.
Prior to the disqualification, Love enjoyed a healthy advantage, working the jab along with shots to the body to keep Valenzuela off balance.
"I knew I could frustrate him with the jab."
Valenzuela's durability was another aspect the Love camp prepared for.
"Most Mexicans are durable fighters," Love said in a moment of praise. "We respected that and that's why we tried to go to his body."
With the win, Love moves to 13-0. Valenzuela falls to 7-2. -- Anthony Springer Jr.
Sugar Shay Dominates Garcia
Ishe Smith's resurgence after sitting on the shelf for the entire 2011 calendar year continued with a unanimous decision victory over Irving Garcia in 10 round junior middleweight action. Smith, who recently inked a deal with Mayweather Promotions, quickly went to work and dropped Garcia with a combination punctuated by a right hook in the opening stanza. It set the tone for the rest of the fight as Smith (24-5, 11 KOs) controlled the action and got the better of the exchanges between the two. Although Garcia (17-8-3) proved to be game, he couldn't keep up with Smith who pitched a near shutout with scores of 99-90 and 100-89 (twice). It was an important victory for the former Contender star as he continues to work his way back into relevancy.
After losing back to back fights against then-undefeated boxers Daniel Jacobs and Fernando Guerrero, Smith seemed to be heading towards the end of his career. After beating Alexander Quiroz at the end of 2010, the 34-year-old was considered high risk, low reward and was subsequently benched for 2011. However, the 34-year-old' new deal with Mayweather and Golden Boy has breathed new life into his career and Smith's latest victory will likely set him up with bigger and better fights. Unfortunately, Smith may be on the shelf as he suffered a broken right hand in the middle rounds. -- Andreas Hale
Cooper wins slugfest
Blocking punches with the face isn't a good way to extend a fighter's career, but it is certainly entertaining. Melinda Cooper improved to 22-2, besting Celine Salazar (4-1-2) via majority decision. The two ladies went toe-to-toe from the opening bell to the end of the sixth round. Salazar gave as good as she got, but Cooper utilized some fancy footwork to dodge a handful of blows. The judges scored the bout 57-57, 59-55 an 60-54. -- Anthony Springer Jr.
Arnett cruises to victory, stays undefeated
In junior middleweight action, Daquan Arnett (6-0) rolled to victory over Jesus Tavera (3-3) to kick off the evening. The Mexico, City, Mexico fighter appeared outgunned from the opening bell. Arnett kept a steady stream of pressure on and landed big shots at will through the first three rounds. A stiff right hook was followed by a left hand in the fourth, forcing Tony Weeks to halt the contest. Time of stoppage was 1:34. -- Anthony Springer Jr.