By Tyson Bruce
Floyd Mayweather Jr., live and in the flesh, brought four of his most high profile young fighters to Little Creak Casino in Shelton, Washington to show off their talent on the latest installment of ‘Sho Box’. The results of the card, depending on your personal taste, could be viewed as either a glowing success or a predictable charade. Glowing because the card featured four absolutely brutal knockouts and a charade because all but one of the fights was a gross mismatch. Let’s just say it helps to have the most powerful fighter in the world in your corner.
The Showtime produced series ‘Sho Box’ has become one of the premier exposure outlets for boxing’s best up and coming talent. The concept of the show was to feature premier young talent against other prospects or experienced veteran contenders. The list of top fighters and champions that have came out of this series in astounding. However, when Showtime received a well-documented make-over hiring Stephen Espinoza as the new head of its sports department, essentially becoming a one promoter network (COUGH…Golden Boy) and maneuvered Floyd Mayweather from rival HBO for a staggering 250 million dollar price tag, many hardcore fans worried that the quality of fights on ‘Sho Box’ would suffer.
The results have been mixed with some of the fights like John Molina’s comeback knockout over Mikey Bey succeeding and many others having failed to live up to the previous standards of the program. This Friday’s card generated a lot of Internet buzz not for the fights, but rather the fact that Floyd Mayweather would be attending the card in person. Many, including myself, speculated that he would announce his much-rumored showdown with Amir Khan, a matchup that had been unanimously trashed by the boxing public. In an interview with Steve Farhood Mayweather was polite and gracious but failed to confirm Khan (or anyone else) as the opponent. He simply stated that it would be someone “solid”. Alas, the mystery continues.
Highly touted former US national amateur champion and World Series of Boxing alum Chris Pearson, 10-0-(9), absolutely obliterated the highly outgunned Brazilian Acacio Joao Ferreira. Ferreira came in sporting a glossy 14-0-1-(12) record, but it was all smoke and mirrors as his last five opponents had just two combined victories. After measuring Ferreira up for approximately a minute he landed a solid southpaw jab followed by a booming straight left hand that had Ferreira’s legs doing a drunken twist. Ferreira, who was basically out on his feat, fell back to the ropes and got absolutely obliterated. Pearson was a ruthless finisher and landed six full-bodied shots that left Ferreira basically out cold. Although this was a very soft touch, Pearson is definitely a fighter to keep your eye on given his amateur credentials and obvious mean streak.
The next bout was between the TMT promoted Mikey Bey against the little known Columbian Carlos Cardenas. Bey has sure taken his lumps lately testing positive for elevated testosterone and getting drilled in the last round of a fight he was dominating against John Molina. This turned out to be a much simpler performance, as Bey utterly dominated Cardenas, who simply didn’t have the speed or coordination to compete. Bey, to his credit, made sure he made this one a memorable mismatch when he scorched Cardenas in the third round with a picture perfect left hook to the body, left hook to the head combination. Referee Bobby Howard waved it off without a count.
The third bout of the evening between the undefeated Badou Jack, 16-0-1-(11), and the hard charging Mexican Rogelio Medina was the most competitive and entertaining bout of the evening. Medina, a decided underdog coming in, came out blazing as he arguably swept the first three rounds of the fight by outhustling Jack and landing a torrent of body shots. However, the pace was such that you wondered whether Medina would be able to sustain it over the course of a ten round bout. After a slow start Jack finally got into his groove in the forth round by landing an affirmative jab and stunning Medina with a nice right hand.
It was after this round that the air started coming out of Medina’s tires, as Jack completely took over the fight and dominated the fifth stanza. In the sixth round Jack landed a beautiful right hand that was part cross and part uppercut and Medina was flat on his back. Courageously, Medina rose but was quickly down again from another fuselage of punches. Somehow Medina again rose and referee Bobby Howard embraced his inner sadist and let it continue. Jack obliged and the fight was quickly over when he scored with a triple left uppercut that downed Medina in the corner. Overall, this was a solid fight and a good stepping-stone for Badou Jack.
In the main event J’Leon Love, fresh off his own ordeal with ban substances, took on grizzled veteran Lujaun Simon. Simon had been inactive since being exterminated in the first round by Gennady Golovkin back in 2011. The first five round of this fight were extremely non-descript as Love moved and boxed while Simon attempted to put on pressure. Simon’s legs looked very stiff and he was being dramatically out sped by the much younger and much more dynamic Love. Steve Farhood described Love’s performance as, “banking rounds without doing very much”. However, people usually only remember how fights end and Love finished this one in style, as he knocked Lujan out cold with a right uppercut to culminate a night of knockouts for the TMT crew.