By: William Holmes
ESPN Friday Night Fights had a special broadcast on a Thursday night in Las Vegas instead of their regular Friday night time slot. Surprisingly for an ESPN boxing telecast, the card started on time. Due to the fact that Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez were fighting on Saturday night, this broadcast was heavily hyping their fourth bout.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
The first bout of the night was between Jessie Magdaleno (12-0) and Jonathan Arellano (13-1-1) in the junior featherweight division. Magdaleno came out strong in the first round and tagged Arellano with several crisp straight left hands. Magdaleno landed a perfectly timed counter right hook and knocked Arellano down in the second round, but Arellano did not appear to be badly hurt.
Magdaleno remained aggressive after the first knockdown, but Arellano landed his best punch of the night in the third round with a sold hook when his back was against the ropes. Magdaleno stepped off the gas pedal for a bit after getting tagged with that hook, but he stepped back on it in the next round.
The second knockdown of the night came in the sixth round and Arellano needed nine seconds to get back to his feet. Magdaleno attempted to finish the fight, but Arellano fought back and refused to quit. By the last round it was clear that Arellano needed a knockout to win, but was unable to get one. Magdaleno did not appear to be content on winning a decision victory and tried his best to score a knockout, but the fight went to the judges at the end. They scored it 80-70, 80-70, and 80-69.
The next bout of the night was the pro debut of Felix Verdejo (0-0) and Leonardo Chavez (1-0) in the junior lightweight division. Verdejo fought in the 2012 Olympics for Puerto Rico and it was clear fro the opening bell that he was the more talented boxer. He mixed up his combinations well and attacked both the body and head of Chavez. Chavez was able to land a few solid shots in the third round, but Verdejo came out blistering in the fourth round and connected with several stiff combinations. He went for the knockout in the last round but was unable to get it. Verdejo won his pro debut with scores of 39-37, 40-36, and 40-36.
The main event of the night was between Ray Beltran (26-6) and Ji-Hoon Kim (24-7) in the lightweight division. Kim is known for his aggressive style and high volume punch output and he lived up to his moniker in the opening round. He came out aggressive and landed a crisp left hook early on in the first round that knocked Beltran down. Beltran was able to get up and fight back and tagged Kim with a left hook of his own that sent the Asian fighter to the ground.
The rest of the fight was non-stop action, but Beltran got the better of Kim often. He focused on the body and landed his left hook upstairs hard and often. He finished off the rounds extremely well and had Kim in trouble at the end of almost every round. They ended the fight exchanging punches, but Kim was simply too easy to hit for the durable veteran Ray Beltran.
Beltran won the decision victory with scores of 98-92, 98-92, and 97-94.