Forum Fight Results and Analysis
By Adam Pollack
July 15, Forum, Los Angeles – In a packed Golden Boy Promotions card, WBC Super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt won a clear unanimous workmanlike decision over Takashi Miura. Berchelt simply was the superior boxer, with faster hands, more compact punches, and better defense, using good footwork to maintain his range to outbox southpaw Miura. Berchelt didn’t just run, but let his hands go often enough to remain in control, and intermittently attacked both the head and body, finding the holes in the relentless Miura’s defense. Despite the movement, Berchelt hit hard enough to find some respect, and even decked Miura with a short left hook in the 1st round. Miura, though blessed with a very good chin, simply was not able to close the gap often enough, occasionally winging big bombs that mostly missed. Berchelt outlanded him by far.
Judges Max DeLuca and Mauro DiFiore got it right with scores of 119-108 and 120-107 respectively, but judge Hu Minn seemed to find ways to give Miura rounds, scoring rounds 7 through 10 for Miura, while DeLuca and DiFiore both gave Berchelt rounds 8, 9, and 10. Min’s score was 116-111 for Berchelt, so he had the correct winner, but his scoring in those several rounds gives one insight into how fights often have controversial decisions, because even in a fight that was a total landslide, a judge found a way to make it seem semi-close and competitive on his card. What happens when it actually is close? A judge should never give out pity rounds, or rounds just because a fighter did better in that round than in previous rounds. Either you won the round or you did not win it, and Miura did not win those rounds.
The co-main event between WBA world superfeatherweight champion Jezreel Corrales and Robinson Castellanos was a matter of superior speed from the former versus the superior strength from the latter, and at times both had their moments in imposing their wills in this back-and-forth see-saw battle.
Southpaw Corrales used his faster hands and better footwork, outboxing Castellanos early on to win the first two rounds. But Castellanos was there to win, and when he got close, he landed the much heavier, more effective, thudding punches. Two of the three judges, Zachary Young and Carla Caiz, gave the 3rd round to Castellanos, but judge Pat Russell gave the 3rd to Corrales. Castellanos did hit Corrales low in that round, which he followed with a rabbit punch, which caused a break in the action to allow Corrales to recover. One could see though that Castellanos’ strength was coming on.
In the 4th round, a short hook decked Corrales in somewhat of a flash knockdown, though later on in the round, Castellanos decked Corrales yet again, with a powerful right, leading to the 10-7 round for Castellanos.
The 5th round again saw Castellanos dealing with Corrales’ speed by imposing his strength. Both judges Carla Caiz and Zachary Young gave Castellanos the round, yet Pat Russell again disagreed, awarding the round to Corrales.
All three judges agreed that Corrales outboxed Castellanos in the 6th, using his footwork to do so.
In the 7th round, Corrales scored a knockdown over Castellanos, a powerful straight left thrown from his southpaw stance. Hence, it was a 10-8 round for Corrales.
The judges agreed that Corrales won the 8th as well. Castellanos appeared to have suffered a cut in that round.
The judges also agreed that Castellanos came back to win the 9th round.
However, the 10th round terminated after only 30 seconds of action. Castellanos suffered badly from a cut under his eye as a result of a head butt, and the doctor requested that the fight be terminated.
As a result of the accidental foul, as per the rules, the round would be scored, and a technical decision would be rendered. But it can be quite difficult to accurately and fairly score a round that only lasts 30 seconds without doing an injustice to one or the other, especially when not a great deal of action occurred. Zachary Young took the Solmonic approach, and did the right thing in scoring it 10-10. Carla Caiz scored it 10-9 for Corrales, the first time she disagreed with Young. Hence, Young had the bout 94-94, but Caiz had it 94-93 for Corrales. Both are respectable scores.
Like Young, Pat Russell scored the 10th round even, and his final score was tallied at 96-92, much wider for Corrales, who won the majority decision to vociferous boos from the crowd. Russell’s score was out of line from what the crowd and the other two judges saw, primarily because of the fact that he saw the close rounds for Corrales rather than Castellanos.
In the third televised bout, Sullivan Barrera won a clear unanimous decision over Joe Smith, Jr., who has one of the heaviest punches in boxing, but simply did not have the sufficient output, speed, or overall defense and ring generalship that Barrera had. The fight had some quite exciting moments, for although Barrera was outlanding Smith throughout, occasionally Smith would land a leaden blow, often as left hook counters, and intermittently hurt Barrera, even decking him in the 1st round. But Barrera had a solid chin, and even when hurt, managed to come back and mostly remain in control, occasionally stunning Smith, who attempted to move and box, but not with effect, for he was not active with his hands on the back foot, and often was too passive with his defense. As the fight progressed, it became apparent that Smith was looking to kill the clock, and occasionally load up to fire a big shot, hoping to land the big one, but it was not a winning strategy against a man of Barrera’s caliber. The scores were 97-92 twice by Eddie Hernandez, Sr. and Fernando Villareal, and 96-93 by Omar Mintun.
There is one concerning new trend in boxing officiating that I have to discuss, which reared its head in the 1st round of this fight; and this sport should address it. Barrera mostly won the 1st round, and hurt Smith with a right over the top, but Smith then nailed him with a counter left hook that decked Barrera. Barrera rose, and though stunned, clearly was able to continue when the mandatory 8 count was reached. Referee Jack Reiss should have allowed the action to resume at that point, and allowed Smith the opportunity to try and finish him, if he could. However, after counting 8, Reiss then had Barrera walk away from him to the side, and then walk back to him. Then he had the action resume. Essentially, the rules of boxing have defacto been changed by some referees, for instead of a boxer having to continue after the mandatory 8 count, or the fight being stopped at that point, the boxer now gets an extra recovery period as he saunters back and forth across the side of the ring, which prejudices the fighter who just scored the knockdown.
I understand that some referees want an extra assessment tool, to decide whether or not to stop a fight. Safety is a concern for this sport. But referees are paid and selected for their judgment. And if a referee does not have good judgment, he shouldn’t be utilized. The walk-back-and forth left-right is a tool, and it is a tool that should be used sparingly, only in close-call situations wherein a referee isn’t really sure whether or not he should allow a bout to continue. When it is clear that the fighter is okay to continue, as was the case in this contest, the fight should resume immediately without the use of this tool. When the fight should be stopped, then also it should be stopped without the use of this tool. But when it comes to those close-call gray-zone moments, where a referee is having doubts about whether to stop or not to stop it, then yes, I have no problem with this tool being used as an extra precautionary assessment method. But it should not be used every time a fighter gets decked. And in the undersigned’s opinion, it should not have been used in this fight for that knockdown.
Ryan Garcia KO 1 Mario Macias. Garcia was way too fast, powerful, and talented for Macias, whom he overwhelmed and decked twice in the 1st.
Mercito Gesta TKO8 Martin Honorio. Gesta was a bit too fast, sharp, and skillful for Honorio, decking him with a southpaw left in the 4th round, and mostly outboxing and outpunching him carefully thereafter. That said, referee Tom Taylor’s stoppage in the 8th seemed a bit premature. Gesta landed a single left that slightly staggered Honorio in the manner that one might see when one trips but then quickly recovers his balance. But without any follow-up occurring, Taylor stepped in and stopped it. In fairness, he possibly might have thought Honorio was not being competitive enough, and took the opportunity to end matters. Nevertheless, the stoppage brought some pretty fierce booing from the crowd.
Dihul Olguin WUD8 Horacio Garcia. 77-73, 77-73, and 76-74. This is one of those times when the “B” side fighter scores the upset. Olguin was much faster and effective, scoring knockdowns in the 2nd and 8th rounds. Garcia seemed slow as molasses by comparison, which isn’t a good sign for one’s career when up against a nearly .500 type fighter.
Manny Robles, Jr. KO5 Christian Esquivel.
Recky Dulay KO3 Jaime Arboleda.