SAN DIEGO, October 3, 2015 – It wasn’t a Fight of the Year, but Viktol Postol’s tenth round knockout victory over Lucas Matthysse showed why Freddie Roach has been Trainer of the Year so many times, and why Marvin Somodio will someday win the same honor.
Roach and Somodio put together the perfect game plan for Postol, and he executed it to the letter with his win on Saturday over the hard-hitting Matthysse. Roach said after the fight Postol was his 36th champion. Postol wins the vacant WBA lightweight title, and remains undefeated with a shot at a title defense worth a lot more than the $90,000 he got paid for this bout. Matthysse made $500,000.
Matthysse (37-4-0, 34 KOs) had never lost by knockout until this fight. Referee Jack Reiss counted him out without any attempt by Matthysse to get to his feet at 2:58 of Round 10. He later told HBO’s Max Kellerman he felt a pop in his eye, and decided it was smarter for him to call it a night and protect his eye. “The pain was instant, and I knew I had to stop because I wasn’t sure what my eye looked like. But fortunately nothing happened.
“He had his night, I didn’t have my night,” said Matthysse.
Trainer Mario Arano agreed. “After the seventh round, I could see Lucas getting tired, which surprised me because we had one of the best training camps in his career. Unfortunately in boxing, sometimes you have a good night and sometimes a bad one. Tonight was an example of a bad night. This is not the end for Lucas.”
Matthysse struggled to get within range against Postol like he wanted. On the few occasions he did, he inflected some damage to Postol. But Postol proved he can take it, and he could dish it out when he needed to. Postol admitted he took a few hard shots, “But that’s why my nickname is Iceman. I can take a punch,” said Postol.
But Postol succeeded because he did what many others could not do with Matthysse. He took away Matthysse’s target and forced Matthysse to box,while moving and making himself hard to hit. He could have jabbed more, and that’s something for Postol to work on.
Postol said the outcome wasn’t in the plan. “I didn’t want to knock him out, I didn’t plan to do that. I came to box,” he told HBO’s Kellerman. He credited his training at the Wild Card Gym with his succsss. “Thank you to my team, to Freddie, to Marvin Somodio, they made me into a champion. I assure you, this is not going to be my last knockout,” Postol said.
According to CompuBox, Postol connected on 113 of 509 punches (22 percent); Matthysse connected on 96 of 281 punches (34 percent). Postol landed 36 jabs to just 14 for Matthysse; Matthysse had a narrow edge in power puches, 82 to 77. At the time of the knockout, two judges had Matthysse ahead by one point; the third had Postol up by one point.
Now that Postol has the victory and the title, he will be looking toward the top of the rankings for a new challenge. Might it be the undisputed class of the ljunior welterweight division, Top Rank stable mate Terence Crawford?
“It would be my pleasure to meet him in the ring,” said Postol. “I want to prove myself to the American boxing fans and prove there are real champions in Ukraine.”
Matthysse’s future is far less clear. Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins of Golden Boy Promotions took in the fights sitting ringside with Bob Arum of Top Rank Promotions, expecting to make a deal to put Matthysse and his new title up against Manny Pacquiao in early 2016. Perhaps it could still happen, but now there may be more appealing options. Amir Khan continues to look for a dance partner and it’s a bout that could be made.
In the co-main event, Antonio Orozco (23-0, 15 KOs) remained undefeated after a tough test from veteran Humberto Soto (65-9-2, 35 KOs). It was the expected matchup of youth versus experience. Soto looked far older than Orozco, although it is only a seven year age difference. Soto came out surprisingly strong, trying to catch Orozco early and make him pay. The pair settled down in the middle rounds, stepping into a phone booth in the corners at time trading shots, making each other pay back and forth through the majority of the bout. Ringside observers called it dead even going into the final rounds.
Referee Jerry Cantu warned Orozco about low blows, and took a point away in the ninth round for the worst of them. In a close fight, it can be the difference in the scores. But as it went to the scorecards, the judges gave it a much wider margin than expected.
Fernando Villareal had it 98-91; Max DeLuca and Pat Russell both scored it 97-92. Bear in mind this is with a point taken away.
“I feel great about the win,” said Orozco. “It has been something we have been working for my entire career … I felt that I set the pace to this fight, but it wasn’t easy. Soto is a tough fighter, he came prepared and I have a lot of respect for him. This was a great learning experience for me and proves I am ready for the next step in my career.”
Soto said, “I know the kind of fighter Orozco is and was prepared to take on a young tough fighter. I think I dominated the fight, the judges, with all due respect scored this fight wrong. The fight was really on my side.”
The cards reflect a dominating performance; it wasn’t. Orozco may have landed the harder and more accurate shots in the second half of the fight, and he looked fresher. But you don’t give points for freshness. Orozco was lucky to get away clean with this one. This fight should give him and his trainers a lot to think about.
The non-televised undercard featured several Southern Californians who were all winners. Featherweight Julian Ramirez of Los Angeles kept his perfect record at 15-0 with 8 KOs after a 10-round decision over Hugo Partida of Mexico (20-6-2 (15 KOs). It was one point shy of a shutout on the judges’ scorecards, 100-90 on two and 99-91 on the third. Ramirez controlled the fight, though Partida was not a pushover. It was an excellent test of him at this stage of his career.
San Diegan Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (29-1-2, 16 KOs) won an unanimous 10-round decision over Miguel Angel Mendoza (21-7-2, 21 KOs) of Mexico, despite two knockdowns by Mendoza of Gesta. Fans inside the StubHub Center saw it differently and made their displeasure known.
The loudest group of the night was the boisterous bunch of fans in bright pink tee shirts supporting 18-year-old super featherweight Luis Arce of Los Angeles. He rewarded them with a textbook left hook to the body to knockout Juan Hernandez of Tijuana. Arce is 5-0 and all by knockout. “I felt in control the whole time,” said Arce. “He is a tough fighter and he came prepared to fight. But, I feel like we were better prepared, and I am excited to have delivered another victory for Team Arce.”
Arce later circled the arena to shake hands with his many fans. He is a veteran of 50 amateur bouts, and there is no doubt Golden Boy Promotions has big plans for Arce.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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