It was a shocking weekend that just past us by, in several entertaining ways.
The most shocking display of the weekend just may have been the absolute destruction of Sod Looknongyangtoy by dynamite carrying Daniel Ponce de Leon on the HBO PPV undercard of Shane Mosley-Fernando Vargas II on Saturday. Gone in 52 seconds, Looknongyangtoy, who drops to 27-2-0, was spread out face-first on the canvas from a laser left hand that rocked the Thai invader to the core. Ponce de Leon, now 29-1-0 with 27 wicked KOs, retained both his WBO Super Bantamweight title and his reputation as one of the most fearsome punchers in the business. After previously needing twelve rounds to defeat the challenger in their first meeting, the Chihuahua resident came out like a man on a mission in the battle of southpaws and applied his usual all-out pressure assault on his foe. The initial crack and follow-through of the searing left hand that caught Looknongyangtoy square on the jaw was even more savage in slow motion, it was the kind of blow that shaves IQs.
Not far behind the brutality of that knockout was Jason Litzau improving to 19-0-0 (17 KOs) as he bent Nicky Bentz out of shape in less than a round. It was the second knockdown of the round on ESPN Friday night that finished Bentz as Litzau cracked his opponent with an explosive right hand that spun and crumpled Bentz in a heap. The 23-year-old St. Paul, Minnesota featherweight/super feather is still a work in progress but his power and aggression certainly make him a desirable fighter to watch.
The most shocking result of the weekend had to be now “former” WBA Middleweight champion Felix Sturm being stopped by aged former junior middle Javier Castillejo. As mentioned in my article here earlier this week, Sturm had been feeling the pressure to produce more action-packed fights after being booed by the hometown fans in his prior bout despite winning easily against dangerous hitter Maselino Masoe. Despite his obvious lack of firepower the German took the fight to Castillejo from the opening bell. Castillejo was on shaky ground in the first round and clearly in trouble but recovered during the minute break to turn the tables and drop Sturm with a left hook in the second round. After Sturm returned to his strength, boxing smartly behind a sharp jab and precise combinations, he had piled up the points heading late into the bout and was set to cruise to victory, or so he had hoped. The tenth round ruined those plans as the Spaniard Castillejo, perhaps sensing he would need a knockout to win in Germany, attacked the champion and hurt him with a left hand. Several uppercuts and some body work and the bout was stopped with Sturm all but out and the 38-year-old Javier Castillejo was the new WBA middleweight champion.
With Shane Mosley’s dominant performance over Fernando Vargas, I think that Vargas is better off not fighting again, although he is still a marketable fighter for now. Taking nothing away from “Sugar” Shane, because he boxed beautifully on Saturday night, Vargas has never been the same fighter since Felix “Tito” Trinidad separated him from his senses back in December 2000. It seems that several ring wars and recurring back problems have slowed Vargas to the point where he simply cannot operate in the manner he was used to. At 28 years young, “El Feroz” has the look of an old fighter. “Sugar” Shane Mosley, with his father Jack back in the fold, looks born again at 34-years-old.
This past weekend Carlos “El Famoso” was effective and workmanlike in earning a 10-round nod over slick boxing Sean Plessis on Telefutura Friday night as Hernandez looks comfortable with a move up to lightweight. Hernandez was on the wrong side of a controversial split decision against Bobby Pacquiao in his last fight and had dropped a split decision prior to that when he battled Jesus Chavez. It was good to see him get back on the winning track.
It is well worth noting that Fabrice Tiozzo ended his year and a half retirement and debuted as a cruiserweight Saturday in France. Tiozzo moves to 48-2-0 with 32 KOs after a fifth round stoppage of Costa Rican Henry Saenz (who dropped to 13-4-1). Both fighters had fought exclusively at light heavyweight prior to the bout. Tiozzo has only lost to one man in his pro career, Virgil Hill – twice – and boasts impressive victories over Darius Michalczewski and Silvio Branco. Even at 37 years of age, the Frenchman still can be a factor at either cruiserweight or light heavy.
The final shock of the weekend goes to heavyweight Maurice Harris. Once a highly touted prospect, “Mo Bettah” Harris was “no bettah” at a whopping Whopper-induced 261 pounds when he challenged 6’9” giant Tye “Railroad” Fields at the South Coast Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Thursday. The shock was seeing how far Harris has fallen. The fighter who scored a 9th round knockout of current WBO heavyweight champion Sergei Lyakhovich back in 2002 quit after four rounds against Fields (37-1-0, 34 KOs) despite being the much better technical boxer. When he faced Lyakhovich, Harris tipped the scales at a solid and effective 217 pounds; he turned pro as a light heavy, which put his 261 pound appearance Thursday into perspective.
Another entertaining weekend is behind us but more intriguing bouts are on tap this coming week headlined by Arturo Gatti versus Carlos Baldomir for Baldomir’s WBC welterweight belt on HBO Saturday.
Hopefully by then the haunting visual of Daniel Ponce de Leon’s savage destruction of Sod Looknongyangtoy will have stopped running through my mind.