by Eric Lunger
Tonight, on PBC on Fox, the talented but enigmatic Victor Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) took on former world champion Devon Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) in a twelve-round welterweight clash. No belt was on the line, but both fighters knew what was at stake: the winner would have a meaningful claim in the deep welterweight division, while the loser very well might mark the end of his career.
In a close, professional first round, both men boxed from range, and Alexander just nipped the round, landing one clean shot. Ortiz was looking to land a lead hook in the second round, feinting his way in. Alexander’s hand speed was noticeable, however, and Ortiz suffered a cut on his forehead. It was another extremely close round. Alexander looked the better fighter in the third round, showing world-class accuracy and speed.
In the fourth, Alexander continued to land precise shots, with Ortiz’s left eye noticeably swelling. The pattern continued in the middle rounds, with Ortiz trying to feint his way in, but Alexander timing him with precise, short shots. Ortiz did get inside at the end of the fifth, but could not do any significant damage. In the seventh, Ortiz bulled his way in, and there was a lot of leather exchanged at close range. The eighth was an exciting round, two professionals exhibiting a high level of skill and courage. It might have been Ortiz’s best round, but Alexander seemed none daunted.
The ninth was full of action, but Alexander’s footwork allowed him to dictate the range (most of the time), and thus Ortiz could not make it an inside brawl. In the eleventh, Ortiz was looking to land some wide hooks, while Alexander remained sharp and accurate. In the final frame, Ortiz fought with urgency but he seemed unable to summon enough energy after a tough and exhausting effort. For a fighter who has taken a lot of criticism regarding his heart, Ortiz fought like a lion.
The scorecards came a stunner. Inexplicably, a majority draw with two cards 114-114, and one card 115-113 for Ortiz.
In the co-feature, undefeated prospect Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) took on rugged and experienced Rogelio “Porky” Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) in a twelve-round world title eliminator at 168 pounds. Sold as America vs. Mexico, the storyline was more interesting as undefeated prospect against tested and tough veteran. Medina failed to make weight, however, and appeared in the ring with a brace on his left knee.
Plant showed a strong left jab in the first round, taking no risks. In the second, Plant dropped his left hand, and allowed Medina to come forward and dictate the action. Plant spent a significant portion of the round back-peddling, earning a Bronx cheer from the crowd. But in the third round, Plant appeared looser and more confident, bouncing on the balls of his feet and landing some clean counters. Medina had no answers and began to take real punishment.
Medina had some success in the fourth, but Plant landed more jabs and used his footwork to frustrate the Mexican veteran. In the middle rounds, Medina could not negate Plant’s advantage in reach and Plant’s jab. Plant was winning rounds jabbing and countering, but he never seemed like he wanted to get Medina out of there.
In the late rounds, Plant remained in control, always boxing, always safe. Medina showed a ton of heart and desire, but could not make inroads against Plant’s defensive footwork. Going twelve rounds for the first time in his career, Caleb Plant earned the decision 120-108, 119-109, 117-111, running his record to a perfect 17-0.
In earlier action, US Olympian Carlos Balderas (3-0, 3 KOs) showcased his elite-level skills, outpointing Jorge Rojas (4-2-1, 2 KOs) in a four-round lightweight bout. Prior to the televised bouts, Detroit’s Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) stopped George Sosa (15-12, 15 KOs) in the fifth round, for Harrison’s second win since losing to Jarrett “Swift” Hurd in February of 2017.