The CBZ Newswire

Lara Dominates Rodriguez in Marathon 12-Round Win, while Beterbiev Crushes Johnson!

by on Jun.13, 2015, under Boxing News

By Juan C. Ayllon at ringside

 

Lara, at right, slams home a right hook to the chin of Rodriguez (photo by Lucas Noonan/Premier Boxing Champions)

Lara, at right, slams home a right hook to the chin of Rodriguez (photo by Lucas Noonan/Premier Boxing Champions)

CHICAGO, June 12, 2015 — This evening’s festivities at the UIC Pavlion were unwittingly axiomatic in its selection of principals: fighting in the main event for the vacant World Boxing Association’s, the International Boxing Organization’s and the World Super Weight titles, Erislandy Lara employed a style emphasizing deft movement, minimum risk and a calculated offense, and in the co-main event, rising light heavyweight puncher Artur Beterbiev (who’s won all eight of his previous professional fights by knockout) plied an approach favoring raw, unmitigated aggression.  The former style is most famously employed by sports megastar Floyd Mayweather, Jr., whereas the latter is a lynchpin of the popularity of Gennady Golovkin, (widely regarded as the best middleweight on the planet, holding the World Boxing Association Interim World Middleweight, World Boxing Association Super Middleweight, and IBO World Middleweight titles).  Coincidentally, some say that Golovkin is on the cusp of becoming the sport’s pound-for-pound king — a status that has been widely bestowed on Mayweather in recent years.

And tonight in this, the Windy City, which worships the smash mouth football of icons like Brian Urlacher, Mike Ditka and Dick Butkus, there’s no mystery here which style is more popular.

 

Lara vs. Rodriguez

The sculpted ebony Erislandy Lara (now 21-2-2, 12 KO’s, 153.6 lbs.) calls to mind a sleek greyhound or track athlete which, on this night, appeared fitting.  He certainly could run and throw. And if his opponent, the pale Delvin Rodriguez (now 28-8-4, 16 KO’s, 153.4 lbs.), were a javelin, he just might have hurled and planted him in impressive fashion.  But he wasn’t.  He was a good boxer fighting with pride.  And although not on the same level, his fundamentals, durability and moxie took him the distance this evening, souring his opponent’s victory.

Round one:  Jabbing, the Dominican Republic by way of Danburry, Connecticut’s Rodriguez catches a stiff straight left to the head. Moments later, he eats another.  Deft and fleet footed, his antagonist, the former Cuban national amateur star by way of Houston, Texas, evades his counter measures.  And then, he does an odd thing:  he leans to his led and stretches his right hamstring, like a sprinter limbering up — or a cat getting ready to pounce.

Murmurs rise from the crowd. “What is this?  A friggin’ ballerina?” the seem to say.  However, the grumbling gives way to a collective “OHHHH!” as he drives home several straight lefts.

Rodriguez is tying to get his offense going behind a busy jab, but most, if not all, of his punches are blocked or ducked.  Near the rounds end, Lara grabs Rodriguez’ head and turns him around.  Boos descend on the combatants, the bell rings and Rodriguez walks back to his corner looking flustered and concerned.

Two:  Rodriguez is pumping the jab to kick off the second round and crossing occasionally, but his punches lack full commitment, as if he’s preparing to pull back his gloves for another incoming shot. A right hook glances off his head; his head is snapped back by two jabs and a straight left just misses.

Rodriguez eats a flush straight left to the face.  They’re circling.  Hands down, Lara dodges the incoming and pops him back.  A fine boxer, Rodriguez seems out of his depth tonight.

Three:  Lara pops his head back with a straight left-right jab combination to open round three; another Lara blow elicits a loud “OOOOH.”  They’re coming more frequently as his blows buffet Rodriguez’s head.  Another pair of lefts snap his head back at the bell.

Four: Rodriguez is not giving up anytime soon.  Trudging forward behind a high guard, he’s looking for an opening, but the fleet footed Lara isn’t giving him much.  A rare Rodriguez right glances off the top of his head, but 30 seconds later, a straight left snaps Rodriguez’ head back.

The crowd is abuzz and growing restless.  Whistles mock; the crowd is tiring of Lara’s evasive tactics.  Some cheers rise as Rodriguez glances with a left hook on a ducking Lara at the bell.

Five:  Catcalls and whistles are on the rise.  Suddenly, Lara unleashes a two fisted flurry that drives Rodriguez stumbling into a corner.  Brief cheers.  Then it’s more of the same.  A Rodriguez right buckles Lara’s legs for an instant, but a counter left to the midriff by Lara nearly doubles him over.  Still, it’s not enough.  Boos and whistles are getting louder and more widespread and perhaps in reaction, Lara unloads hard straight lefts.  Their heads slam together.  Rodriguez winces.  The bell rings.

Six: Rodriguez unleashes a pair of hard, straight rights — one to the body, the other to the head.  Unfazed, Lara stalks and has him ducking.  Then, as he mounts a rally, as he tries stepping around a crouching Lara, he trips to the mat.

Someone yells, “When’s the fight going to start?”

Lara is coming on again behind a stiff jab, but if nothing else, Rodriguez is a solid boxer with good fundamentals hanging tough and giving his best.

Suddenly, a straight left nails and drops Rodriguez hard.  The crowd roars.  All is forgiven.  For now.  Rodriguez rises, the bell terminates the round, and he gets a thorough going over by his corner.

Seven:  Lara blocks a hard straight right.  The beleaguered Rodriguez is trying hard, throwing hard rights and lefts while his tormentor paws with the jab and looks to drop another bomb.  A hard straight lett catches his clavicle.  Aohter glances.  Rodriguez glances with a rare right, with Lara ducking at impact to take off the sting.  A few boos greet the bell.

Eight: The cat callers are voicing their lusty disapproval.

“F** Lara!”

“Rodriguez sucks!”

“Boo!”

Assorted whistles whine out as the two jockey for position.  Scattered punches, then a straight left and right send Rodriguez stumbling.  Cheers erupt, Rodriguez recovers, and the round ends.

Nine:  A vengeful Rodriguez strafes with lefts and rights — all blocked.  Then it’s Lara’s turn.  He lands a few shots.   A right  hook to the jaw sends spray flying.  Surely, he doesn’t like the boo birds, either,

A hard straight left snaps back the head of Rodriguez, who’s weathering the buffeting. Another jarring left.  And another.  A left-right-left bobbles his head, but he keeps it together to finish another round.

Round 10: Lara is pumping the jab while Rodriguez mills with his left looking to drop it in, only to eat a few stiff lefts and rights.  Rodriguez ducks under a looping right and stalks.  He drills the midriff but his hair is sent flying with a counter left.  Lara is pot-shotting him now, but many of the shots are blocked.  Rodriguez fires a right, but gets his head caught and held down by Lara, who’s not making any fans tonight.  More boos. The bell rings.

Eleven:  A plethora of feints and blocks dominate the first minute of round 11.  However, three straight lefts blast through the guard and a fourth sends Rodriguez tumbling.  Referee Celestino Ruiz rules it a slip.  The crowd’s reaction is deafening.

Rodriguez is taking a pounding.  One of his straight rights slams home flush and another snaps Lara’s head to the side, but he’s incapable of halting his aggressor, who’s now battering him about the ring.

Twelve: Cheers greet the announcement that this is “the 12th and final round!”, and it’s not for the scintillating action.  Instead, like Olympic fencers, there’s a whole lot of glove on glove contact.  Then, a Lara left slams into Rodriguez’s head. Rodriguez swings and misses with a right and eats a counter left.  Lara is stalking.  A left buckles Rodriguez’ legs.  Another staggers him, but just as he seems ready to go, he drops his gloves to his side, pumps his knees high and taunts his attacker.  Cheers burst from the crowd.  Rodriguez unleashes a series of lefts and rights that Lara ducks, rolls with, or simply evades.  The final bell rings and, unlike the co-main event, scattered boos dominate the cheers at the conclusion of the hostilities.

Judges score the bout 120-107 all for Lara, who retains his super welterweight title, announcer Mike William says.  Cheers, mixed in with boos, greet the announcement.

Afterwards, Lara thanks Rodriguez through an interpreter for being a great competitor and shares his desire to fight Floyd Mayweather.  Groan.

 

Beterbiev vs. Johnson

Beterbiev, at right, drives back Johnson wiht a smashing overhand right (photo by  Lucas Noonan/Premier Boxing Champions)

Beterbiev, at right, drives back Johnson wiht a smashing overhand right (photo by Lucas Noonan/Premier Boxing Champions)

It was two classic mesomorphs in there fighting tooth and hammer.  Ironically, the lesser muscled of the two, Artur Beterbiev (now 9-0, 9 KO’s, 175 lbs.), was doing the most damage.  A celebrated knockout artist, he was looking to get some rounds and advance his cause against one Alexander Johnson (174.2 lbs.) who with 16 wins (7 knockouts) and two losses was served up as cannon fodder.  The only thing was, Johnson had never been stopped and saw in Beterbiev a potential career bolstering scalp.  What did he have to lose?

The two look so very different:  the pale Beterbiev, appearing to be ex-military, wears a crewcut and beard, while the olive toned Johnson, who resembling a sordid biker, sports long dreadlocks tethered back in a ponytail.

One:  Moments into the first, Johnson is jabbing, moving side to side while Beterbiev stalks.  It’s not long before Beterbiev glances with a lead right.  Johnson ties him up.  Resuming,  Beterbiev just misses with a hook and staggers him with another right moments later.  the tension — and the bloodlust — is palpable.  Trapping him on the ropes a minute later, Beterbiev slams home another right off the face of Johnson, who is shaken but escapes moments before the bell rings.

Two:  The second doesn’t go any better for Johnson; a right hook sends him reeling back.  Retreating, he covers along the ropes and absorbs a fusillade.  Firing a desperation right that lands hard, he gets away.  Thirty seconds later, a Beterbeiv right  to the abdomen hurts him. Johnson, who is overwhelmed along the ropes again a minute later.  He fights back, covers, grabs hold.  As Beterbiev closes for the kill, suddenly, a lead straight left connects hard to his head, sending spray flying.

“OHHHH!” the crowd yells.

Beterbiev stalks more carefully.

Three:  Beterbiev clubs and batters Johnson in the opening seconds of the third.  Now, they’re poised to pounce.  They trade in close. Beterbiev is jutting head and body with stupendous hard shots, but Johnson is weathering the battering — even firing back hard counters in spots — for now.

Four:  Beterbiev just misses with a wild right to the head.  Another straight left by Johnson snaps Beterbiev’s head back. He follows with a straight left to the solar plexus. Nevertheless, moments later, Beterbiev is stalking him.  Johnson slams home a looping left to the midriff.  He’s fighting back more, but Beterbiev continues to maul him for the balance of the round with clubbing lefts and rights.  Johnson appears spent.

Five:  A clubbing left jab drops Johnson to his knees.  Rising, he rips the body of Beterbiev with a potent left-right combination.  Not deterred, Beterbiev pounces, with a right uppercut depositing him, seated, onto the lower strand of the ropes.  Following up after a short count, Betterbiev rips the body and repeatedly snaps back the head of Johnson who, to his credit, survives the round.

Six:  A  rejuvenated Johnson digs the midriff with three hard straight lefts and stalks him for about a minute.  Beterbiev retreats, circles, and glances with a looping blow to the head.  Johnson slams home a right hook to his jaw, sending spray flying.

“OOH!” goes the crowd.

It appears that Beterbiev is taking the round off, covering up and keeping  the output to a minimum.  He’s picking his spots.

Seven:  His mouth agape, Johnson kicks off the seventh initiating, but their fight is now more tactical now. They swap blows.  Then, a gloved fist slams into the left temple of Johnson, who collapses in a heap.  He’s done.  Wisely, the referee waves it off immediately.  Moments later, Johnson rises, albeit unsteady.  A stoic Beterbiev lofts and shakes his right gloved fist overhead as if to say, “Yup, this is the one that did it!”   The crowd cheers in ecstasy as it’s announced that he won at 1:38 into the seventh round by technical knockout.

 

Anatoliy Dudchenko vs. Elieder Alvarez

In a surprising upset, following some testy back and forth slugging, in the second stanza, Quebec, Canada’s Eieder Alvarez (now 17-0, 10 KO’s, 181 lbs.) trapped Los Angeles, California’s Anatoliy Dudchenko (now 19-4, 13 KO’s) in a corner, drilled him with a swift barrage, punctuated with a thunking right, and Dudchenko collapsed. Rising, he fell forward again.  Rising, he looked unsteady and the referee halted the bout at 1:05 into the second round.

 

Szpilka vs. Quezada

Krakow, Poland’s Artur Szpilka (now 19-1, 14 KO’s, 231 lbs.) vs. Wasco, Ohio’s Manuel Quezada (now 29-10, 18 KO’s, 233.5 lbs.) pitched an entertaining, if one-sided affair.

One:  Szpilka is pumping the jab and crossing his opponent as round one gets underway.

“ARTUR!  ARTUR!  ARTUR!” the sizable Polish contingency bellows.

It’s not long before Szpilka acknowledges thee cheers, whipping in hard lefts and rights at the covering Quezada’s sides and head.  To his credit, his prey finishes the round upright.

Two:  Szpilka is on the prowl again in round two and, again, shouts of “ARTUR!” (clap, clap, clap) “ARTUR!”  (clap, clap, clap) “ARTUR!”  echo in the Pavilion.

The fight slows, with Szpilka unloading in spots, while Quezada fires back in spots.

Three:  It’s more of the same in the third round and, afterwards, Quezada’s corner calls it off.  Boos rain down on the referee as he waves it off.

The fight is officially called at one second into round four.  Szpilka has won by technical knockout.

 

Jose Quezada vs. Jeffrey Ramos

One:  It was all target practice for Quezada (7-0, X KO’s) in the first round as he stalked Ramos and peppered him about the ring with lefts and rights and little return fire.

Two:  Ramos fired back hard in spots in the second, but was forced to grab as Quezada upped his hostilities, ripping hard to the body and head.

Three:  Taking abuse in the third, Ramos went down from a borderline body blow, rising at about the count of six.  Moments later, his antagonist was deducted a point for hitting and holding.  This angered Quezada, who tried to blast him out of there ion the waning moments of the round.

Four:  The battering continued into the fourth round.  Blast as he might, his victim wouldn’t fall and, in what appeared to be frustration, Quezada pushed him down.  Moments later, he was warned for excessive pushing down his opponent’s head.  Nevertheless, Quezada continued to bombard his retreating foe.

Five and Six:  The fifth saw Quezada batter in sharp single and double-shot bursts, with occasional return shots thrown by Ramos, who kept a high guard throughout.  And in the sixth and final round, Quezada amped up his attack to three punch salvoes, but his prey refused to go down.

Afterwards, judges scored the bout 58-54, 59-53 twice for Quezada.

 

Josh Hernandez vs. Joe Estrada

The son of popular Chicago middleweight, “Macho” Miguel Hernandez, Joshua Hernandez (now 1-0, 1 KO, 129.5 lbs.) had a successful pro debut, halting his opponent, Joe Estrada (now 0-4, 131 lbs.), in the first round.

It didn’t take long for Chicago’s Hernandez to drop Kearney, Missouri’s Estrada, who fell to his hands and knees. Rising, Estrada unleashed a wild windmill of punches.  Disciplined, Hernandez stalked, jabbed, crossed and hooked his opponents. Pressing, he walked into a sharp counter right, but reset and pursued. As he was coming on, a distressed Estrada’s head got caught under the top rope and the referee waved it off.  Boos burst forth — and justifiably so.  The referee ruled it a “no contest, halting it at 2:58 into round one.

 

Dolton vs. Fonseca

Detroit, Michigan’s Dominique Dolton (now 17-0, 9 KO’s, 154.5 lbs.) and Tijuana, Mexico’s  Victor Fonseca (now 9-5-1, 7 KO’s, 155.5 lbs.) fought a rugged battle, but in the last three rounds, Fonseca was spent and was taking a battering.  The referee made it official at the end of the fifth round, waving it off with Fonseca sitting on his stool.

 

Eddie Ramirez vs. Geraldo Cuevas

Eddie Ramirez dispatched Geraldo Cuevas at 2:36 into the third round.

 

Ronald Hearns vs. David Thomas

The son of all-time great Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns, Southfield, Michigan’s Ronald Hearns (now 28-5, 22 KO’s, 162 lbs.) has had a rough go of it as a career in boxing, and briefly endured a shaky start against his Evansville, Idaho opponent, David Thomas (now 10-5-2, 8 KO’s, 165 lbs.).  After eating a few hard rights, he settled down and rocked Thomas with a succession of his own right-fisted bombs.  Hearns even attempted one of his father’s patented “up-jabs” (a jab thrown from the hip) that sailed wide.  Appearing ready to go,Thomas survived the first round.  Barely.

Following a pedestrian second, Hearns began landing jarring lead rights again in a dominating third.

He finally turned the trick with a succession of rights to the head, dropping Thomas face first.  Referee Celestino Ruiz waved it off at 55 seconds into the fifth round.

 

 

More photos to be posted later.

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