Maidana Body Shot KOs Cayo; ScaleHater Guzman Beats Funeka

BY Michael Woods ON March 27, 2010
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Marcos Maidana gave Victor Cayo a "man, you are for real and this is a little bit harder than I thought it would be" look after the fifth round in the main event of HBO's Boxing After Dark card, which unfolded at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The next round, the WBA's interim lightweight titleholder Maidana gave him the business, in the form of a right hand to the breadbasket, and that was the end of the road for Cayo, who gave a fine account for himself, and will surely be asked back.

Cayo has a loosy goosey style, and it worked wonder for a spell, but he may want to consider some remedial tutoring. His defense alternates between haphazard, appalling, and nonexist. The ending came at 1:38, for the record.

Maidana (27-1 entering, with 26 KOs; age 26; from Argentina) weighed 140 pounds, while Cayo (from the Dominican Republic; age 25;  24-0 coming in) was also 140.

In the first, Cayo didn't come out with excess respect. He looked relaxed, and confident. He let his hands go, and jetted after he unloading. Maidana looked like Cayo's hand speed surprised him somewhat. He got more rugged in the second, but Cayo went on the offensive with a minute to go. A left hook at the bell, though,  sent Cayo down, and he got up at 9 1/2. He was backing up, as the bell rang, and got tagged. Was he still groggy after the rest period? In the third, Cayo looked clear headed. He put combos together, then dropped his hands, same as before. The knockdown didn't make him too fearful of Maidana. This is the kind of guy who gives his corner a heart attack...In the fourth, ref Joe Cortez warned Maidana for hitting behind the head. Cayo slips, and ducks, and dips his head a lot, so it didn't look like it was intentional. Both men were in bombs away mode in the fifth. Jabs were nowhere to be found...

In the sixth, Cayo ate some heavy shots, but did he raise his hands, tighten his guard? That's not his way...It was a body shot, however, which spelled Cayo's ultimate doom. A right hand to the gut, a Jack Ruby special, sent Cayo to the mat, and he was unable to beat the count.

In the TV opener, Joan Guzman "ScaleHater" Guzman scored a split decision victory over Ali Funeka, in a rematch from their November scrap. The cards read 114-113 (F), 114-113 (G), 116-111 (G), and none of the cards were out of the realm. That 2009 battle resulted in a draw, which many folks thought Funeka deserved. Guzman drew bad buzz Friday, when he weighed 144 pounds, or nine pounds over the lightweight limit. The fight was on iffy terrain, as it wasn't clear if the vacant IBF crown title would be on the line, or indeed even if Funeka would sign off on the bout. Funeka (age 32; from South Africa; 135 at the weigh in, 143 1/4 on fight night; 30-2-3 entering) okayed the tussle,  after Guzman gave up some dough, if Guzman (29-0-1 entering; living in Brooklyn; born in the DR; age 33; 148 1/4 on fight night ) didn't weigh more than 150 pounds the morning of the bout.

Guzman didn't order in room service on Friday night, and hit that mark, so the bout went ahead. The IBF title, however, would not be his for the wearing if he were to win, since he wasn't anything close to a lightweight before, let alone during the event.

Guzman told the HBO crew that he was three pounds over the limit on Friday early, and in fact apologized to Max Kellerman for fibbing. He told Max that he simply couldn't sweat off the poundage as he'd been accustomed to.

Guzman looked sharp, moving slickly, getting in and getting out. Funeka was patient, looking to walk Guzman down, and hammer him with his long right in the first. Funeka pumped the jab to set up the right, and mixed in hooks for good measure early on. Guzman played cutie pie in the third; he ducked and slipped, but didn't really throw much. It looked like Guzman could take the best Funeka could throw, at least early on, before stamina might be an issue...But he looked like he was pretty beat after four, so maybe stamina would become an issue sooner rather than later.

Blood sprung from Guzman's nose, off a left, in the sixth. In their first fight, this occured, and he panicked. Not this time...A roundhouse right by Guzman dropped Funeka at 1:30, in answer. Guzman exploded on the body, and then went back to the well with a bombs away right to the head.

To start the seventh, Funeka stepped it up. He closed the distance, and didn't try to let his reach advantage work for him. Instead, he crowded Guzman, and that strategy tweak paid off in a winning round. Last time, Guzman faded...was he doing the same in the eighth? In round nine, Guzman looked more energized. He simply moved much better and more often than in their first tangle. That, and with the extra weight, he wasn't as prone to getting buzzed by Funeka's power tosses.

Through nine, Harold Lederman saw Guzman up 5-4, and TSS didn't have a problem with that. Funeka looked like he was at times too respectful of Guzman's pop; often, he'd hurl the jab, and then neglect to follow up. He didn't look like a man who could be down on the cards in the 11th. Would he get a little loco on the 12th? Guzman still had his legs in the last round, and why wouldn't he, since he didn't have to torture himself to get to 135 as his foe did? Funeka fought the 12th much as he had the other 11--too cautiously. We'd go to the cards.

Guzman went 139-512, while Funeka, an extra $25,000 in his pocket, was 199-761.

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