By Matt Becher
Live from the University of Illinois: Chicago Pavilion, Premier Boxing Champions brings another boxing card to Spike TV. In the under card hard hitting Russian knockout artist Artur Beterbiev (8-0 8KO) looks to add to his undefeated record and climb the ranks of the Light Heavyweight division as he takes on veteran fighter Alexander Johnson (16-2 7KO).
In the main event, Cuban sensation Erislandy Lara (20-2-2 12KO) will look to change the “regular” in his WBA championship title to “super” and become one of the four recognized world champions in the Jr. Middleweight division. But standing in his way is 34 year old Delvin Rodriguez (28-7-4 16KO), who knows this is his last chance at a title and needs this win to keep his career alive.
Artur Beterbiev (8-0 8KO) vs. Alexander Johnson (16-2 7KO) Light heavyweight
Johnson comes out in the southpaw stance as Beterbiev comes orthodox. Beterbiev begins throwing feints, with little punches to see how Johnson will react.
Beterbiev lands some big shots to the head and body of Johnson, shaking his head, not in a ‘not hurt’ way, but in a ‘whoa what was that’. Johnson just covers up and lays on the ropes as Beterbiev works the body and tries to break Johnson’s guard.
Johnson lands two straight, solid left hands to Beterbievs chin, but Beterbiev just walks right through them and continues to stalk Johnson.
The bell rings and Johnson becomes the first man to ever take Beterbiev past 4 rounds. Beterbiev comes out landing big shots to the body and head, trying to get Johnson to engage. Johnson is very winded and with 1:45 left in the round, Beterbiev lands a stiff jab that sends Johnson to the canvas. A minute later a two piece and uppercut by Beterbiev lands and sends Johnson down to the mat again. Between the rounds, Johnson’s’ corner tells him that they will stop the fight, if he doesn’t show them something in the next round.
It doesn’t last long, Johnson gets into the 7th round where he catches a quick left hook to the side of his temple and he goes down. Twenty seconds after getting back up, he takes a huge right hand from Beterbiev and crumples into the ropes. The fight is stopped at the 1:38 mark in round 7.
Beterbiev TKO7 1:38
Erislandy Lara (20-2-2 12KO) vs. Delvin Rodriguez (28-7-4 16KO) WBA Jr. Middleweight Title
The main event was extremely one sided, with Erislandy Lara proving that he was on another level than Delvin Rodriguez.
The fight started with Lara pumping out his jab and following easily and routinely with a straight left hand. Rodriguez uses no head movement and became very easy pickings for the pin point accurate Lara.
By the fourth round Rodriguez looks like a defeated boxer. Breathing heavy out of his mouth, and having no game plan to land punches on Lara.
The boo birds begin to be heard in the 5th, as the fans see a very dominated man not be put away. Lara controlled every aspect of the fight, landing over 60% of his power punches and is finally able to put Rodriguez on the canvas with a straight left hand with ten seconds left in the 6th.
The second half of the fight was more of the same. Lara was in the fight against a punching bag. Lara had nothing to worry about, landing his shots at will and never being pressured in return. In the end, Lara could not finish the show, he won every round of the fight in impressive fashion.
Lara UD 120-107 (3x)
Below are comments made by the televised fighters following their performances tonight:
“Thanks to my whole team and to Delvin for being a great competitor. Thank you Al Haymon.
“This was a great performance tonight. I was able to land my left. Delvin was really just trying to survive in there, so I knew what I was doing was working.
“I was trying to bait him to come in, but it wasn’t working. So I had to get aggressive in there.
“It’s never a comfortable feeling leaving it up to the judges. I’d like to win every round and get the knockout if possible, but at least I got the win tonight.
“I’m going to sit down with my team and Al (Haymon). The future is clear. We want the best. We want Floyd Mayweather. We want Miguel Cotto. We want Gennady Golovkin at 160 lbs.”
“It was very uncomfortable in there for me tonight. He was sharp and giving me lots of weird angles to work with.
“He was always looking to land his left. He caught me once to the body though and that took three or four rounds to shake off.
“I think PBC is great for the sport. They’re taking boxing to a whole new level. Some of the things they do are really going to catch on with the fans. Keeping the focus on the fighters is a big part of that.
“It’s hard to say what’s next right now. There are still some great fights for me. Just because I lost to a skilled, technical fighter like Lara doesn’t mean there aren’t great fights left for me.”
Photos: Lucas Noonan/Premier Boxing Champions