SAN DIEGO, Calif., January 27, 2018 – Southern California boxing fans flocked to The Forum in Inglewood, California, happy to see boxing back to start the 2018 season.
Two hard left jabs salvaged the evening when the main and co-main events fell short of delivering the all-action matchups anticipated.
Matthysse scores stoppage over Kiram in main event
Lucas Matthysse of Argentina (39-4, 36 KOs) can thank a pair of snapping left jabs for fending off the boo birds in the eighth round of his second fight at welterweight against unknown challenger Tewa Kiram of Thailand (38-1, 28 KOs). Matthysee saved his evening, and wins the vacant WBA welterweight title by knockout at 1:21 of the round.
Kiram, the naturally bigger man, was content to keep his distance from Matthysse and box at distance over the first half of the fight. It frustrated “La Machina,” who seemed unable to do much about it. He landed a smattering of decent body shots. Kiram felt them but kept on trucking.
Finally, Matthysse figured out how to solve the equation, with the variable (X) being two left jabs hard enough to drop Kiram. Kiram beat the count for the first one. Secons later, Matthysee landed the same punch a second time. Kiram threw and missed before suffering an odd delayed reation, dropping hard on the canvas. Referee Raul Caiz Jr. waved off the count and the bout was over to everyone’s relief.
Matthysse said after his fight the plan was to shorten the distance and go to the body of Kiram. “But I noticed his punches weren’t hurting me, so I started pressuring him a little bit more. I just couldn’t catch him, he was moving very well, but I was finally able to connect.
“But eventually everything worked out the way we planned,” said a happy Matthysse. “He moved really well, and he was really big. That’s why it was hard to cut the distance. I didn’t feel his power, so that’s why I was able to find him later and stop him.
“Yes, yes, he felt my power,” explained Matthysse. “He didn’t feel it at full strength, but he felt my hands were very heavy, yes. I think maybe he was looking for away out at the end, but all in all it was good.”
The California State Athletic Commission seized a jar of some unknown substance being used by Kiram’s corner between rounds. It was described as some sort of herbal salve, which Kiram inhaled.
Matthysse is ambitious when naming his next opponent.“I’m here for the best and biggest names. I want the rematch with Danny Garcia or Manny Pacquiao. Those are the big fights I want, though of course that will be up to Mario Arano and Golden Boy Promotions.”
Based on Saturday’s performance, Matthysse can scratch Pacquiao from the list (who’s rumored to be fighting Mike Alvarado next anyway), but fans might like to see a rematch with Garcia. Most fans believe Matthysse was robbed on the scorecards of a win he deserved in the first fight.
Linares prevails in unanimous decision over Gesta
World lineal lightweight champion Jorge Linares of Venezuela prevailed over Mercito Gesta of San Diego, California in a decision victory. Scores were 118-110 from judges Esther Lopez and Max Deluca, and 117-111 from Eddie Hernandez. He retains his WBA Lightweight world title.
Gesta (31-2-2, 17 KOs), a native of the Philippines, delivered a surprisingly solid performance in the loss, one of the best of his career. But Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) is simply a harder, faster puncher, and Gesta doesn’t possess the punching firepower to seriously damage Linares.
Gesta came out aggressively and showed he meant business in the early rounds, looking sharp against Linares. He was able to slow Linares’ punch output down early with good counterpunching. It was the right strategy to try and rack up rounds against Linares. Gesta doesn’t have the raw punching power to go toe to toe with Linares.
At the end of the third round, Linares landed a solid right hand and a good left hook. It was the preview of things to come. Linares put his speed to work and punch for punch, Gesta couldn’t match it. Still, Gesta wasn’t going to let Linares walk all over him, and he’s got the toughness to take a punch to deliver three or four in return.
Gesta’s problem is his lack of power, and no elite technical boxing skills to substitute for it. He throws a lot of punches but he can’t put a hurt on his opponents the way someone like his countryman Manny Pacquiao could in his prime. As the fight went on, Gesta had to take greater risks for the chance of landing a lucky punch on Linares.
“I didn’t really feel his power, though I hurt my hand in the fourth or fifth round,” said Linares. “I threw my right hand without really putting too much power into it. I wasn’t touching him. There wasn’t a knockout because he was well prepared.”
Linares’ Achilles heel is his tendency to cut easily. Gesta opened a cut over the eye of Linares with a punch in the eighth round. It fired up Gesta and in the ninth round he threw a kitchen sink of combinations at Linares. Linares put a big right hook on Gesta, and though Gesta weathered Linares’ punches extremely well, he simply couldn’t dish it out himself.
“I fought against a world champion, and that was a great privilege,” said Gesta. “He adjusted well to my style after the first couple of rounds. Overall, I am proud of myself for taking this tough fight, and I know me and coach Freddie Roach came in with the best game plan, we just fell a little short.”
Linares landed 171 total punches to 120 for Gesta (29 vs 23 percent), with an edge in power punches of 149 for Linares, 110 for Gesta.
Who would Linares like to face next? “Like I said to Oscar De La Hoya, I don’t want to mention names for my next opponent. You know what’s nice? That people mention my name. That’s fine that they mention my name, but let’s get them in the ring. Let them get in the ring with me.”
Golden Boy Boxing tried unsuccessfully to match Linares with Mikey Garcia for Saturday’s card, turning instead to Gesta. Garcia might be more interested after watching Linares tonight. It’s a matchup we’d love to see, sooner than later.
Other notable results from the undercard
Marcelino Nicolas Lopez (34-2-1, 18 KOs) of Argentina scored a fifth round knockout over Breidis Prescott (33-13, 22 KOs) of Colorado in a super lightweight matchup of ring veterans. “Boxing is a beautiful sport, that is so exhilarating – but to get a knockout is the best part and what we train for,” said Lopez. “It takes sacrifice to leave your home country, and be able to focus and get a win like this is so satisfying. I want to thank Joel Diaz, who has taken me in like his family and has helped me improve and refine my style.”
Featherweight prospect Francisco Esparza (7-0-1, 3 KOs) of Las Vegas delivered the first loss of Los Angeles native Tenochtitlan Nava’s pro career (7-1, 1 KO). Esparez scored a TKO at 1:43 of the sixth round. Esparza gave credit to his trainer for the win. “I’m trained by former world champion Fernando Vargas, and is an important mentor and helped me execute a game plan where we broke down Nava. Hopefully, I’ll be fighting in my hometown of Las Vegas in May.”
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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