Last night, Showtime Championship Boxing aired five action-packed bouts where boxing fans worldwide were treated to four impressive knockouts and one marathon fight between two of the top super bantamweights in the world.
Nathan Cleverly vs. Shawn “The Sioux Warrior” Hawk
In the opening bout of the evening, undefeated WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (25-0, 12 KO) stopped Shawn “The Sioux Warrior” Hawk (23-3-1, 17 KO) by way of eighth round TKO.
Taking this fight on only 10 days’ notice, Hawk proved to be a game opponent, doing his best to stand and exchange with Cleverly, but fell short round after round. For every one punch that Hawk was able to get off, Cleverly answered with his own barrage of punches, mixing up overhand rights with hooks to the body and head to keep his opponent off balance and unable to counter.
Dominating each round due to his unrelenting onslaught and ability to land four and five punch combinations at will, Cleverly slowly picked his opponent apart before his attack became too much for Hawk to withstand.
Antonio “Relentless” Orozco vs. Danny Escobar
In an eight round battle between junior welterweights Antonio “Relentless” Orozco (16-0, 12 KO) and Danny Escobar (8-3, 5 KO), undefeated prospect Orozco continued his domination with a solid win over a gamey opponent in Escobar.
Despite getting out-boxed through each round, Escobar stayed resilient and continued to give a solid effort, but was unable to have an answer for Orozco’s unrelenting attack.
Through the rounds Orozco was effective in getting inside and landing his shots, and early on began to break Escobar down. The undefeated junior welterweight was able to dictate the pace of his fight, winning the battles inside while landing his jab and keeping Escobar off balance when fighting from a distance.
Against any other junior welterweight at his level, Escobar could have easily pulled off the unanimous decision, but he fought an unforgiving, determined Orozco who refused to let anything prevent him from raising his hands and being victorious.
In the sixth round, Escobar ate a barrage of punches, and Orozco ended the night with a straight right and a left hook delivered on the button of his opponent. The fight was stopped 2:06 into the round to prevent Escobar from taking any more punches.
Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo vs. Raul “El Tigre” Casarez
Coming into this battle of 154 pounders, Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo (21-2, 18 KO) experienced both one of the longest years of his life and his boxing career. In his last trip to the ring, he suffered a sixth round knockout loss to James Kirkland for the WBC Continental America’s light middleweight title, and then spent over 7 months incarcerated in a detention center on the charges of living with an expired visa.
At one point Angulo was unsure if he would ever have the chance to go to work between the ropes again, and upon landing the fight with Raul “El Tigre” Casarez (19-3, 9 KO), he was anxious to show his fans that he was back and still had something left in the tank.
Tonight “El Perro” did more than merely show his re-emergence back to the sport, as he dropped Casarez with a devastating left hook within the first minute of the fight, ending the night early and making a statement that he was back.
Out of the gate, Casarez got the fight he was looking for, with Angulo coming inside and looking to go to war, but as both fighters exchanged left hooks, Casarez came up short and was put to the canvas, unable to continue.
El Perro showed he was back with a chip on the shoulder, ready to get back to world title contention.
Leo “Teremote” Santa Cruz vs. Victor “Nene” Zaleta
In this battle for the IBF Bantamweight championship, Leo “Teremote” Santa Cruz (22-0, 13 KO) put on an impressive performance as he picked apart Victor “Nene” Zaleta (20-3-1, 10 KO) through nine rounds, eventually earning the referee stoppage.
Known as one of the best body punchers in the game, Santa Cruz was relentless with his attack, utilizing different angles and levels to keep the barrage on Zaleta through each round.
A warrior with a never say die attitude, Zaleta refused to give in round after round and continued to hang in there, exchanging with Santa Cruz as he had his back against the ropes.
In the most exciting fight of the night, both pugilists left it all in the ring as they fought their way for three minutes of every round.
Zaleta first felt the canvas in the fourth round, and as the subsequent rounds went on the beating he was enduring was clearly taking a toll, though he continued to fight hard and look for an answer to Santa Cruz’s vicious onslaughts.
Santa Cruz put Zaleta down once more in the seventh round, before finishing him off with a solid 1-2 coupled with a straight right hand with 1:20 left in the ninth round.
With this impressive victory, Santa Cruz showed that his name belongs in the top echelon of fighters within the division.
Abner Mares vs. Anselmo “Chemito” Moreno
It wasn’t pretty, but reigning WBC super bantamweight champion Abner Mares (25-0-1, 13 KO) defeated Anselmo “Chemito” Moreno (33-2-1, 12 KO) via unanimous decision to retain his championship.
In a rough and tumble battle through the first half of the bout, Mares was able to establish his game plan by coming forward and putting pressure on the challenger. Known for his outstanding defense and ability to avoid being hit, Moreno never seemed to be able to find his comfort level as he constantly backpedaled and appeared off balance.
In the fifth round, Moreno was caught with a right hand that brought him down to the canvas, the first time he was put down in his career. Despite the knockdown, there were times during the fight when it appeared Moreno was going to be able to figure out how to time Mares coming in, but his game plan was quickly thwarted, as Mares found a home for his overhand right, eventually landing it at will.
In the end, Mares was awarded a unanimous decision (116-110, 116-110, 120-106). The reigning champion called out super bantamweight sensation Nonito Donaire, though it might be a while before he has a chance to go to work against the WBO champion.
Prior to this fight, Moreno commented that the toughest opponent of his career was his training at the boxing gym. Well, following a performance where he seemed to lack the ability to adapt to his opponent’s style on the fly, he may need to rethink his answer.
By far not the prettiest showing of Mares’ career, but nevertheless, the belt still hangs from his waist.