HBO: Boxing After Dark
Former Cuban amateur and heavyweight contender, Luis Ortiz was back in action following his impressive win over Bryant Jennings. Standing in the way was veteran fighter Tony Thompson. As expected, Ortiz notched another dominant win in six rounds. Ortiz proved too strong for Thompson who found no answer for the Cuban’s powerful left hand. Ortiz scored three knockdowns en route to the stoppage. Ortiz continues to roll and we might see him in a high profile, world title match very soon.
In the undercard, Jessie Vargas scored an upset TKO win over Sadam Ali. For years, Vargas struggled to score a breakout performance even while holding a world title at jr. welterweight. His best performance was nearly knocking out Tim Bradley in the final seconds of the fight this past June but went on to suffer his first official loss in the scorecards.
This time around, Vargas scored an impressive win over Ali who was destined for greatness as a possible marquee fighter for Golden Boy Promotions. In the eighth round, an overhand right, the same that had rattled Bradley, landed crisp on Ali’s chin, who had the bad habit of keeping his hands low. Ali never recovered, he came out for the ninth round on unsteady legs and Vargas applied the pressure, landing hard shots and scoring two more knockdowns, forcing the referee to stop the fight. At long last, Vargas has arrived and Ali is now left scrambling for his future.
A pair of jr. middleweight contenders and a middleweight prospect were in action in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Julian Williams and Tony Harrison scored TKO wins in separate bouts while highly touted middleweight prospect Antoine Douglas suffered an upset loss.
Williams, has been making some noise in the 154lbs division, calling out names like the Austin Trout and the Charlo brothers, but no one has answered the call. This past weekend, he resorted in facing Italy’s Marcello Matano in order to stay active. Williams did as expected and dispatched the game challenger in a seventh round TKO. In the post-fight interview, Williams again expressed his desire to face the best in the division and singled out Jermall Charlo who holds the IBF jr. middleweight title. If it takes place, Williams-Charlo is one of the best bouts to happen right now.
Tony Harrison, from Detroit, Michigan and training out of the famous Kronk Gym notched his second win in a row following his first career loss to Willie Nelson last July. Taking on Fernando Guerrero, who is best known to have shared the ring with David Lemieux in a TKO loss. Harrison was dominant from the beginning and despite a couple of hard fought rounds; he managed to stop Guerrero in the sixth after dropping him with a hook and leaving him on shaky legs. The last of the Kronks, Harrison is well on his way on the comeback trail and hopes to get back in the championship picture soon enough and prolong the legacy of terrific fighter hailing from the Motor City.
In the opening broadcast, rising prospect Antoine Douglas suffered his first career loss in an upset against Avtandil Khurtsidze. Hailed as one of the best newcomer in the middleweight division, Douglas was hoping to make the jump from prospect to contender but was unable to deal with Khurtsidze’s relentless pressure. Douglas did his best to fight back until the very end but couldn’t keep up as the referee halted the bout in the 10th round. A tough setback for Douglas, he showed flaws in his inside game and will look to bounce back strong in his next performance.
Saturday March 12 at the Olympia Theatre in Montreal, it’s David Lemieux’s homecoming as he faces James De La Rosa in a 12 round match. Following his loss to Gennady Golovkin last October, Lemieux seeks to get back in the win column and hopefully land back in world title contention once again.
In addition, super middleweight Schiller Hyppolite will face Darnell Boone. Boone, a rugged veteran, best known for testing guys like Andre Ward, Sergey Kovalev, and Adonis Stevenson, hopes to be a good test for Hyppolite, who continues to climb up the rankings.
Also on the card, Steven Butler looks to claim a Youth IBF title. Newcomers Mathieu Germain, Simon Kean, and the Hussain brothers are also in action on the undercard for Eye of the Tiger Management.