SAN DIEGO, Calif., March 13, 2020 – Sports fans needing a live event fix had one place to go on Friday night following cancellations due to coronavirus social distancing: Showtime Boxing.
Courtesy of Showtime Boxing’s long-running series “Shobox: The New Generation” and Salita Promotions, the show went on from the Grand Casino Hinckley in Hinckley, Minnesota gave prospects the sports stage all to themselves. Only family, fight teams, and credentialed media were permitted in the venue. But it may have been the largest audience for a Shobox card in its storied history.
A sparse audience is far from unusual watching the early fights on a major fight card. Fans don’t find their seats until the main event, content to socialize in the venue bars or outside tailgating. Sitting ringside in the media section, it’s common to be among a few hundred people hearing little other than footfalls on the canvas, the thud of punches landing, referees issuing instructions and corners shouting advice.
But the circumstances are no different for the fighters. Every ring is the same size and every fight is about the same thing: defeating your opponent.
Brandun Lee makes quick work of Camilo Prieto
Since first appearing on the Shobox series one year ago, flashy welterweight prospect Brandun Lee of La Quinta, CA (19-0, 17 KOs) has continued to impress fans. His first main event appearance Friday was no different. Lee took out Camilo Prieto of Miami (15-3, 9 KOs) in a third-round TKO.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) March 14, 2020
Lee, 20 years old, is on the brink of breaking out in the competitive welterweight division. Prieto was supposed to give Lee the rounds in the ring he needs at this stage of his career, but it was not to be. Prior to the bout, Lee felt Prieto disrespected him. His reaction? “I’m gonna embarrass him by killing his confidence … I’m gonna clown him,” said Lee. This is precisely what he did. He toyed with Prieto in the first round like a cat with a mouse before killing it.
In the third round, Lee decided he’d had enough. He hit Prieto with several right hooks midway through the third round. Lee backed Prieto up to the ropes, landing an uppercut to put Prieto on the road to defeat. Referee Mark Nelson stopped the fight at 2:34 of the third round.
There is a lot to like about Lee, who is personable and knows how to please the fans. He attends community college and intends to pursue his degree in criminal justice at Cal State San Bernardino. But he needs to get in more study time in the ring before he’s ready to step up into the same realm as the Crawfords, Spences Jr., and even the Vergil Ortiz Jrs. of the welterweight world.
Norman Jr. gets in work against Rodriguez
Brian Norman Jr. of Atlanta (17-0, 14 KOs) also hoped to put in solid work in his bout against Flavio Rodriguez of Los Angeles (9-2-1, 7 KOs). He got more of a test than Lee did, earning his victory by technical decision in a bout cut short due to an accidental headbutt. Rodriguez suffered a wicked vertical cut on the forehead, and that was it. At 57 seconds of the seventh round, the bout went to the cards, all reading the 19-year-old welterweight prospect, 68-65 X 2 and 69-64.
Norman Jr. had superior speed and a good body attack, but his defense has some deficiencies and Rodriguez tagged Norman Jr.’s chin several times. He took the shots well, but against a fighter with more power, he might not weather them so well. Nevertheless, there’s a lot to like about the young prospect, who got in good work Friday.
Alejandro Guerrero retains clean record with majority decision
Alejandro “Pork Chop” Guerrero of Irving, Texas (12-0, 9 KOs) prevailed over a determined Jose Angulo of Ecuador (12-2, 5 KOs) in their eight-round lightweight bout. Scores in the majority decision were 79-73, 78-74, and 76-76.The bout was much more competitive than the cards indicate. Angulo was the busier fighter, landed more punches overall thanks to a busier jab, and put “Pork Chop” to the test in his first eight-round fight. Guerrero employed a good left hook, but Angulo wouldn’t yield. Guerrero closed strong in the final two rounds, including a near knockdown in the eighth round courtesy of a left hook to pull away and secure the decision.
Aram Avagyan hangs tough, edges Dagoberto Aguero
Aram Avagyan of Armenia (10-0-1, 4 KOs) dug himself a hole early in his bout against Dagoberto Aguero of the Dominican Republic (15-1, 10 KOs), but survived two knockdowns to come back and win by majority decision in the eight-round opening featherweight bout. Scores were 77-74 and 76-72 for Avagyan, and one card read 75-75.
Avagyan prevailed even though judges missed his knockdown of Aguero in the seventh round. Aguero staggered and grabbed onto Avagyan, but his right knee still hit the canvas. In the end, it didn’t make the difference.
Aguero looked strong early, but his conditioning seemed to fail him as he faded enough down the stretch to let Avagyan back into the fight.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on social media at@PRProSanDiego.
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