by: Sean Crose
The Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California hosted Friday night’s Golden Boy ESPN card featuring veteran welterweights Jesus Soto Karass and Mauricio Herrera. First, though, light heavyweight Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, 18-1, faced Todd Unthank May, 10-0-1, in a ten rounder. Shabranskyy, who lost an important fight to Sullivan Barrera last December, employed a powerful, methodical game plan, one which was clearly taking its toll on the undefeated Unthank May in the fifth. By the end of the seventh, it was obvious Unthank May’s corner should stop the fight. He was simply taking too much damage. And indeed, the fight didn’t reach the eight round.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hogan photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Next up was a six round super middleweight throwdown between Jaime Solorio, 10-1-2, and Niko Valdes, 5-0. Solorio was able to land a few good shots early on, but Valdes was clearly able to control the tempo with steady aggression and sound footwork. By the middle of the fight it was obvious that Valdes was stronger and more skilled, but that his patience made his style lack excitement. Not to be outdone, however, Solorio ended the fourth whaling away at Valdes, paying particular attention to his opponent’s body. Still, Valdes was able to reassert control as the fight progressed further and walked away with an easy UD win.
It was time for the main event. Both Soto Karass, 28-11-4, and Herrera, 23-7, had their notable moments throughout their careers. Soto Karass had fought a who’s who of opposition throughout the years while Herrera was still best known for his controversial loss to Danny Garcia in Puerto Rico back in 2014. Friday night was, in a sense, a last ditch effort for each fighter to attain late career glory. Both men remained somewhat patient early on, though Herrera was going effectively to the body. He was also finding a regular home for his jab by the middle of the second. Soto Karass, however, ended the round moving forward and using his reach to good effect.
Indeed it was Soto Karass who began to look stronger in the third and then actually started taking control of the fight early in the fourth. Herrera, though, was there to win and the two men nailed each other repeatedly in the middle of that chapter. Still, it was Soto Karass who was walking his man down and looking to dominate as the fight entered the middle rounds. Yet, Herrera’s jab returned to him in the fifth and he was able to land hard and clean. Soto Karass, however, finished the round strong. It was a solid affair.
As the fight worked its way through the middle rounds, it became clear that these were indeed two aging fighters plying their trade. The action was in bursts and the tempo was rather slow at times. Slow but steady. In this, the bout seemed to actually resemble an MMA match, where the action is often punctuated by notable pauses. By round eight however, the action became somewhat explosive, with Soto Karass ripping into Herrera’s body and Herrera landing in kind. It was a see-saw affair, to be sure. Herrera was more accurate, but Sotto Karass seemed to perhaps have a bit more power.
By the end of the ninth, things had gotten bloody. Herrera’s face was an absolute mess as Soto Karass finished the round battering the man’s head around the the ring. It was now worth wondering how much more Herrera could take – and how much more Soto Karass could give. The tenth and final round was a doozy, with both men firing away and showing tremendous heart. That was no surprise, but it was impressive to watch nonetheless. These were two admirable adversaries.
In the end, I gave it to Soto Karass due to the power of his punches. The judges apparently saw it differently, giving the nod to Herrera. Huge credit goes to both men. What a fight.
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