LAS VEGAS, Nevada, July 20, 2019 – Two previously undefeated fighters maintained their perfect records, and two walked away with their first losses on Saturday in the Fox Sports card leading into the Pacquiao vs. Thurman fight on Saturday.
IBF super middleweight champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant (19-0. 11 KOs) wasted little time planting “Irish” Mike Lee (21-01 11 KOs) on the canvas in the first round. Plant swiftly rolled up three more in 90 seconds of round three before the fight came to an end. Plant retains his IBF World Super Middleweight title.
“I’ve been telling you all week it’s not going to go 12 rounds, said Plant. “I stuck to my word … I was just ready for the bell to ring.”
Four knockdowns from Plant make it a quick night
Plant hasn’t scored a knockout since he was fighting six rounds in 2015. His stats took a big leap on Saturday. Plant proved his performance against Jose Uzacategui in January wasn’t a fluke.
Plant deployed left hook to the chin of Lee in the first round to drop him on his backside. Lee popped up quickly, but it rattled him and he never really got his wits back about him, fighting defensively and tentatively through the next few rounds.
Plant set up a right hook with a pinpoint body shot to drop Lee for the first of the knockdown trio in the third. Lee beat the count, and Plant wasted little time dropping him hard, virtually face first. It didn’t seem Lee would get up, but he did. There wasn’t much he could offer to defend himself, and Plant moved in to end things.
Th final knockdown came from a left hook to Lee’s ear. He rose on wobbly legs, and referee Robert Byrd waved off the fight. He got an earful from Lee, but it was the right call. Later, Lee said he didn’t have an issue with the stoppage. “That’s the referee’s job, and I respect it.”
Despite the bad blood leading up to Saturday’s fight, Plant and Lee embraced in the ring after it was over, and could be seen speaking to each other. “It takes a true champion to stand between these ropes, I take my hat off to him and his team,” said Plant.
In describing the game plan, Plant said, “We’ve seen a couple things here and there. I feel I have a high IQ at a boxing level. He’s a big strong guy he’s a superior athlete, he gave it his all.”
After a break from the ring to get married (to PBC reporter Jordan Hardy), Plant said he’d love to unify titles against the winner of the upcoming fight announced earlier in the day between David Benavidez and Anthony Dirrell on September 28 in Los Angeles.
“We can definately unify. The winner of that – I ain’t hard to get a hold of, come see me,” said Plant.
Efe Ajagba needs all ten to defeat Ali Eren Demirezen
In the co-main feature, no one would have expected unbeaten heavyweight Efe Ajagba of Nigeria (11-0, 8 KOs) to go the distance against his fellow 2016 London Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen of Turkey (11-1, 10 KOs). A knockout win seemed a virtual lock in this fight given the high knockout percentage for both men. Instead, the pair traded shots all ten round, with Ajagba getting the better of it to win a unanimous decision. Scores wre 97-93 (Steve Weisfeld), and 99-91 (Adelaide Byrd and John McKaie – yes, THAT Adelaide Byrd). The Weisfeld card is accurate, as Demirezen won at least two rounds and had several closer rounds; this was no blowout.
“He was strong and could take my punches,” said Ajagba. “My trainer just told me to keep using my jab and stay in the middle of the ring. I hurt my elbow early on, so I couldn’t shoot my right hand like I wanted. But I won’t use that as an excuse. As a tall man I had to use the jab and if it went the distance, that was my best way to win.
“He was trying to throw big overhand right hands, but I tried to keep myself cover when I had to. It was enough to get the job done, but I’ll keep getting better,” promised Ajagba
Demirezen wasn’t happy with the two wide scorecards. “99-91 is not correct. It was much closer. I feel at that minimum, it was a draw. I knew I had to knock him out and that a knockout might be easier than winning by points.” Demirezen said he knows he can do better, and he’d like to fight in the U.S. again in the future.
It was only the second time Ajagba has gone more than two rounds, and that’s perfectly OK. Rolling up rounds like this is money in the bank for Ajagba. He didn’t get hurt in this fight but he was too easy to hit standing so straight up and down. The elite heavyweights will mow him down without improving his defensive skills. Ajagba should have the time and ability to do this.
More undercard results: Good night for young Filipino talents
Featherweight John Leo “Mr. Dato” Dato of Santa Maria, California (12-0-1, 9 KOs), a native of the Philippines, thrilled his fans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena by opening the night with the first knockout of the day. Dato stopped Juan Antonio Lopez of Dallas (13-7, 5 KOs) in the fifth round, sealing it with a right to the upper body. This flashy and fan friendly young fighter is one to watch.
Genesis Libranza of the Philippines (19-1, 11 KOs) followed Dato into the win column with a fourth round TKO over Carlos Maldonado of East Los Angeles (11-4, 7 KOs) in their scheduled eight round flyweight fight. Maldonado traded with Libranza well, but near the end of the fourth round Libranza had Maldonado pinned on the ropes and let it rip. Referee Russell Mora stood by giving Maldonado a chance to survive to the bell, but he had to step in and stop things with five seconds left
The animated corners were nearly as entertaining as the fight itself, and the fight between welterweights Abel Ramos of Casa Grande, Arizona (25-3-2, 19 KOs) and Jimmy Williams of New Haven, Connecticut (16-3-1, 5 KOs) was highly entertaining. Ramos had his way with a tough Ramos for most of the fight, finally forcing referee Kenny Bayliss to call it at 2:43 of the fourth round when Williams was taking too many shots along the ropes.
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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