By: William Holmes
Tonight both Showtime and HBO broadcast boxing matches, but Showtime had to make an adjustment to their main event after Randall Bailey withdrew due to a back injury.
Tonight’s Showtime card took place at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The first bout of the night took place in the middleweight division between the undefeated prospect J’Leon Love (12-0) and Ramon Valenzuela (7-1).
Love has been training with Floyd Mayweather Jr., and that was evident in his fighting style in the ring. He wasn’t the most exciting fighter, but he was very effective and efficient. He peppered Valenzuela with his jab and check left hook, and Valenzuela was never really competitive.
They allegedly fought as amateurs when they were teenagers, and Valenzuela got the better of Love when they were young. Love, however, was a class above Valenzuela, and Valenzuela began to get frustrated during the middle rounds. He tried to make it a dirty fight, and was deducted a point by the referee in the seventh round for attempting to take Love down. Valenzuela tried it again in the eighth round and the referee had seen enough. He disqualified Valenzuela and gave Love the victory. It may have been an early disqualification, but it was readily apparent that Valenzuela would not have beaten Love.
Love won by disqualification at 0:37 of round eight due to unsportsmanlike conduct. All three judges had it 80-72 for Love at the time of the disqualification.
The main event of the night was between Ajose Olusegun (30-0) and Lucas Matthysse (31-2) for the WBC super lightweight title. Olusegun has an undefeated record, but he has not faced the type of competition that Matthysse has fought, and this was apparent by the second round.
Olusegun started strong in the first round, but was throwing some wide, looping punches. Matthysse connected with straight and crisp combinations by the corner in the second round and had Olusegun holding on for dear life. Matthysse tagged Olusegun again in the third round with crisp combinations and straight right hands, but Olusegun was able to hang on and stay on his feet.
Olusegun came out firing in the fourth round, but slipped to the ground after he threw another wild, looping punch. This started to become a common theme in the fight as Olusegun slipped several times. Olusegun showed tremendous heart, but was hit with a multitude of combinations and straight right hands.
Olusegun showed brief flashes of offense, and tremendous heart, but was hit with the crisper and harder punches.
The end came in the tenth round. The fight was momentarily stopped when Matthysse hit Olusegun with a punch when the referee ordered a break. Matthysse continued his assault after the break and knocked Olusegun down with a straight right hand: the referee had seen enough.
The bout was stopped at 2:59 of round 10 by the referee, making Lucas Matthysse the new WBC Super Lightweight Interim Champion.
Post Fight Quotes:
After the victory Matthysse told Jim Gray, “He was a tough rival and he had a lot of mobility in this fight. I thought I had him a couple of times. He is a strong fighter and I felt his power tonight.”
When asked who he would like to face next Matthysse answered confidently, “Anybody. It will be very difficult to take this belt. I’ll fight anybody right now.”
Ajose, clearly frustrated with his performance also spoke with Gray. “I’m alright. Matthysse is a terrific fighter. This is what inactivity will do to you. I am a bit rusty, nothing to take away from Matthysse. He is a terrific puncher. He came to fight and he came to win.”
Ajose graciously continued, “I think he is the hardest puncher I have ever fought. I have to give it to him. I know I can do better than what I did tonight. I’m a good champion. I fall down and I get back up. I’ll be back.”