Saturday Recap – A robust 12-round fight – think Vargas vs. Salido or Thurman vs. Porter – goes by in a flash. A dull 12-round fight drags on forever. The British novelist William Golding likened the experience to standing on a railroad platform in a cold rain awaiting a late-arriving train.
The ESPN telecast of last night’s 12-round contest between beanpole super featherweight Mario Barrios and Devis Boschiero was delayed by a technical glitch which translated into an even longer evening for the poor souls that stayed to the finish at the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, New Jersey. The catcalls began as early as the opening round and grew less pronounced as the fight wore on as the crowd thinned out.
Boschiero, who came all the way from Italy, was the culprit. Eight inches shorter than the 6’1” Barrios, he darted in and out without letting his hands fly, save in the final minute of the fight when he arose from the bout’s lone knockdown and showed some spunk. At the end of the match, Boschiero said “I had trouble finding my range tonight.” Indeed.
Barrios, the 21-year-old prospect from San Antonio, pitched a shutout (120-107 in the eyes of all three judges) but his performance could yet be described as lethargic. He improved to 16-0 (8 KOs). Boschiero declined to 39-5-1.
The semi-main was an uneventful 10-round contest between super lightweights Eddie Ramirez and Jessie Roman. Ramirez, from Aurora, Illinois, advanced to 14-0 with a unanimous decision over Southern California’s Roman who was 20-2 going in. It was Roman’s first outing since August of last year and was his first time going 10 rounds and it wasn’t surprising that his work rate slowed as the fight wore on.
Meanwhile, out on the left coast, boxing fans were treated to some slam-bang action. This was especially true of the ALA promotions card featuring the Pagara brothers at the San Mateo Event Center near San Francisco.
ALA is based in the Philippines. The Pagara brothers, who reside in Cebu City, were touted as the next wave of great Filipino boxers, the successors to Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire. The older brother, 24-year-old Jason Pagara, a welterweight, passed his test with ease, dismissing fragile Abraham Alvarez in the third round, but his 22-year-old brother Albert Panara, a super bantamweight, suffered a brutal knockout at the hands of Mexico City’s Cesar Juarez in the featured bout. This was a big upset as the undefeated (26-0) Pagara was rated #5 in his weight class by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
Things started out well for the young Filipino. He knocked Juarez to the canvas with a left hook in the waning seconds of the opening round. After six frames, he was clearly ahead. But Juarez turned the tide in Round 7, blistering Pagara with combinations that left him all at sea as the round ended.
Pagara still wasn’t right when he got off his stool for Round 8. Juarez needed only 15 seconds to finish him off. Pagara, although conscious, left the ring on a stretcher, immobilized with a neck brace. A spokesman for ALA subsequently announced that he was released from the hospital after passing all of his precautionary tests.
Juarez, who was 17-5 (13) going in, was coming off a loss, but had given Nonito Donaire a tough tussle in a failed bid for the WBO World 122-pound title in his bout before that. After upsetting Albert Pagara he called out Donaire in hopes of landing a rematch.
In Lemoore, California, local fan favorite Jose Ramirez, a 2012 Olympian, improved to 18-0 (13) with a fourth round stoppage of Tomas Mendez, a fighter of uncertain age from the Dominican Republic. This fight in the 140-pound division was a butchering from the get-go. Mendez, who was game but overmatched, was on the canvas three times in the opening round. Referee Jack Reiss waved the fight off at the 53-second mark of Round 4 with Mendez under heavy pressure. In the semi-main, San Jose’s Andy Vences improved to 16-0 with an 8-round unanimous decision over Guadalajara trial horse Moises Delgadillo.
At Brooks, California, near Sacramento, on a card jam-packed with local talent, featherweight Manuel Avila improved to 21-0 with a lopsided 10-round decision over late sub Prosper Ankrah. It was the fourth straight loss for Ghana transplant Ankrah, a pro since 2004.
The international scene was quiet on Saturday, but we would be remiss if we failed to acknowledge the mild upset that occurred in Chengdu, China, where Melissa St. Vil out-pointed Katy Castillo. What an odd location for this 10-round featherweight encounter. St. Vil, from Brooklyn by way of Haiti, improved to 8-2-3. Ms. Castillo, from the Dominican Republic, declined to 18-2.
The weekend, if we may use that term loosely, concludes Monday in Ekaterinburg, Russia, where WBA/IBF/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KOs) meets Malawi-born Isaac Chilemba (24-3-2, 10 KOs). This is considered a tune-up for “Krusher” Kovalev who is slated to meet Andre Ward in a November mega-fight.
Kovalev vs. Chilemba will air live in the United Kingdom on BoxNation and on tape delay on HBO in the United States with a studio crew calling the action.