Mack earns title shot
Ringside by: Rocco Morales
Photography by: “Big” Joe Miranda
Courtesy of: fightnewsextra.com
Coming off a 13 month layoff, IBF No. 7contender showed little ring rust in a dominating display against No. 6 IBF contender, Otis Griffin, winning a split decision to earn a title shot at IBF light heavyweight champion, Tavoris Cloud.
Mack had been in this same position just 13 months earlier to earn a shot against Cloud, only to fall prey to the right hands of Glen Johnson and suffer a knockout loss. With no interim fights between that knockout loss and this fight, Mack had a tall order but with trainer, Naazim Richardson, shouting instructions from his corner that Mack followed on cue, Mack made the fight look easy. “Free Money” shouts by Richardson, inferring that Griffin was there to be hit, were then followed by straight hard jabs by Mack that Griffin had no way to defend.
It was a tactical fight for most of the way, but with Griffin only winning the rounds that Mack cruised through, Mack built up a very comfortable lead. Griffin never could figure out a way to get on the inside of Mack’s superior reach and most times he would try to rush in, he would be met with Mack jabs.
Mack seemed content to earn a decision victory as he was doing enough to win the rounds but didn’t seem intent on going for a knockout. However, midway through the 12th round, Mack caught Griffin flush with a left hook to drop him and hurt him badly. Griffin would rise but would go into survival mode, further punctuating Mack’s victory.
By scores of 119-108, 113-114, 116-111, Mack wins the USBA light heavyweight title, earns the right to face IBF champion, Tavoris Cloud and raises his record to 29-3-2. Meanwhile, the 33 year old Griffin sets a major setback with the loss and drops to 23-7-2 (9KO). The 113-114 score was a travesty and FightNews concurred with the 119-108 score in favor of Mack.
Beltran stops Vinan
In the semi-main event, a scheduled 12 round contest for the vacant USBA lightweight title, Ray Beltran overcame the very determined challenge of Carlos Vinan to finally stop him after 7 rounds of battle. Beltran had just fought one time in the prior 2.5 years following a knockout loss to Ameth Diaz.
Meanwhile, Vinan had managed to stay much busier, serving as the stepping stone for many up and coming fighters including lightweight contenders Mercito Gesta and John Molina. To Vinan’s credit, however, he did hold the very talented junior lightweight contender, Eloy Perez, to a draw and had, collectively, faced much tougher opposition than the now Freddie Roach trained Beltran.
The southpaw Beltran started off quickly in the first round, landing many hard right hooks to the head of Vinan but Vinan not only weathered the storm but took control of the fight and swept the second, third and fourth rounds. Just as it appeared the fight was slipping away from Beltran, however, he awoke in round five and started putting a hurting on Vinan, particularly in the seventh round when Vinan had no answer for the right hooks of Beltran which thudded repeatedly off the head of Vinan.
The corner of Vinan wisely stopped the bout before the eighth round could begin to save their valiant fighter from further damage. By TKO victory, Beltran captures the vacant USBA lightweight title and improves to 24-4 (16KO) while Vinan, who fought at an ability well above his record would indicate, drops to 10-9-4 (2KO).
Dudchenko too much for Broken Rope
In cruiserweight action, a scheduled 6 round bout, Anatoli “Dragon” Dudchenko proved too much for Joe Broken Rope, sweeping the first three rounds, before punishing him enough in the fourth round for referee, Ray Corona, to intervene and halt the fight. Time of the stoppage was 1:26 and with the victory, Dudchenko improves to 11-2 (8KO), while Broken Rope falls to 2-2 but left to a standing ovation from the crowd for his noble effort against the superior Dudchenko.
Gallo defeats Araiza
In a scheduled 8 round bantamweight contest, veterans Javier Gallo and Jose Araiza slugged it out for all eight rounds in an incredible all out war. It was a a see saw battle the entire way but both fighters saved the best for last in the final round. To begin the final round, Gallo knocked down Araiza to seemingly win the round and likely the fight. However, Araiza rose from the canvas and wasted little time in returning the favor and flooring Gallo. Araiza then went on to hurt Gallo a couple more times with the capacity crowd on its feet. In a fight that could have gone either way, the judges scored it 78-74, 77-75, 75-77 for a split decision victory for Gallo that was very well received by the crowd. FightNews saw it as a 76-76 draw. With the victory, Gallo improves to 17-3 (9KO) while Araiza drops to 29-4 (20KO).
Fedosov destroys Polley
In a scheduled six round heavyweight attraction, fringe heavyweight contender Andrey Fedosov annihilated veteran Byron Polley, knocking him down three times in the first round with the third knockdown a perfect right cross to the chin that planted Polley down and out flat on his back. Time of the knockout was 2:02 in the first round. With the victory, Fedosov improves to 22-2 (18KO) while Polley drops to 21-11-1 (11KO).
Centeno TKOs Vallejo
A scheduled four round welterweight fight saw Hugo Centeno Jr. take on Jesus Vallejo. Centeno could not miss as Vallejo neither demonstrated any head movement nor the ability to keep his hands up. With a lead left hook followed by a jab, Centeno put Vallejo down early in the round only for Vallejo to get up to take further punishment. After absorbing a few more left hooks and being bounced around the entire ring, referee, Raul Caiz Jr., stepped in to save Vallejo from further punishment. By way of a first round TKO at 1:29, Centeno improves to 6-0 (6KO) while Vallejo drops to 3-4 (3KO).
Ezell KOs Deanovic
In a woman’s bout featuring two debuting fighters, a scheduled four round jr. lightweight contest, Yolanda Ezell wasted little time in dispatching Laura Deanovic. With a perfectly placed solid sweeping right cross, the Floyd Mayweather Sr. trained Ezell knocked out the 44 year old Deanovic seconds into the bout. The former runway model and now realtor/boxer, Ezell, improves to 1-0 (1KO) while dropping Deanovic to 0-1.
Alegria decisions Raymondo
The opening bout of the evening was another woman’s bout featuring two more debuting fighters in a four round bout in the super flyweight division. In a very competitive fight, Adrienne Alegria and Blanca Raymondo went toe to toe for all four rounds. At the end, the judges saw it as a majority decision victory in favor of Alegria (39-37, 39-37, 38-38). FightNews.com saw it the other way, 40-37 for Raymundo. Alegria improves to 1-0 while Raymuno drops to 0-1.
Promoters for the event were Bash Boxing and Art Of Boxing and the venue was the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills. A capacity crowd was treated to a marathon like fight card that included two exhibition female fights, followed by the eight pro fights, but with superb matchmaking in which each and every fight was a good one.