Save for Santa Cruz, Mayhem undercard fights underwhelm

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James De La Rosa put in a fine effort in his first major bout to defeat Alfredo Angulo. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime
James De La Rosa put in a fine effort in his first major bout to defeat Alfredo Angulo. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime

SAN DIEGO, September 13, 2014 – The “Mayhem” undercard fights were underwhelming Saturday, with a lone second round TKO win in the co-main event highlighting the lineup.

Leo Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 15 KOs) took care of business as expected over Manual Roman (17-3-3, 6 KOs) of Mexico to remain undefeated and retained his WBC super bantamweight belt. Santa Cruz has a decent knockout percentage but he’s not known as a KO artist. He caught Roman with a straight right that dropped him into fetal position on the canvas. Roman apparently beat referee Robert Byrd’s count but it was a formality as the fight was over.


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Roman is a former sparring partner of Santa Cruz, so there were no secrets between them. My dad said ‘you’re going to catch him with the right,’ we practiced in the gym, and we got him,” said Santa Cruz.


This was meant as a showcase fight in front of the pay per view crowd for Santa Cruz. So what’s next? “The fans, they want Guillermo Rigondeaux, I’m not scared of Rigondeaux, I’m not scared of nobody.”

At least one person was excited about Saturday's undercard fights. Leo Santa Cruz backstage before his second round TKO victory. Photo: Courtesy Leo Santa Cruz
At least one person was excited about Saturday’s undercard fights. Leo Santa Cruz backstage before his second round TKO victory. Photo: Courtesy Leo Santa Cruz

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Miguel Vasquez (35-3-0, 13 KOs) and Mickey Bey (20-2-1, 10 KOs) gave fans at the MGM Grand Arena a good opportunity to refill their drinks. Vasquez and Bey are tactical fighters; Vasquez says he wants to change the stereotype about Mexican fighters relying more on aggression than boxing skills. He didn’t change it for the better, losing in a surprise to Bey with a questionable split decision. Judge Julie Lederman had it 115-113 for Mickey Bey; Adelaide Byrd had the same score for Vasquez. Robert Hoyle had119 to 109 for Mickey Bey.

The bigger problem with the decision: hardly anyone cared. Vasquez dictated the pace of the fight, staying in the slow lane. Bey had to work hard but scored just enough to take Vasquez’s IBF lightweight title belt. The judges didn’t have it easy scoring this one. The pair barely landed 20 percent of their punches. Time to rethink your approach if you want the big opportunities, gentlemen.

Mickey Bey won a surprising split decision over Miguel Vasquez, but hardly anyone paid attention. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime
Mickey Bey won a surprising split decision over Miguel Vasquez, but hardly anyone paid attention. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime

Alfredo Angulo (22-5-0, 18 KOs) may have made his last appearance in the ring after a fine effort by James De La Rosa (24-2-0, 13 KOs) to win a unanimous decision. Angulo seemed to be sleepwalking. De La Rosa boxed rings around the more senior pressure fighter in by far his biggest fight and biggest venue so far.

In the second round, De La Rosa put Angulo on the canvas with two straight lefts. A cut opened up over Angulo’s right eye after repeated shots. Referee Russell Mora threatened Angulo’s trainer Virgil Hunter he would stop the fight if Angulo took any more damage. Before Angulo went out for the ninth round, Hunter told him, “If you don’t knock him out, your career is over.” Angulo finally showed some power and hurt De La Rosa with his trademark left hook. The crowd tried to encourage “El Perro,” a well-liked fighter. But there weren’t enough rounds left for Angulo to do enough damage.


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The scores were 96-92 (Patricia Jarman), 98-90 (Glenn Trowbridge), and 99-89 (Lisa Giampa), all for James De La Rosa. De La Rosa threw a nifty backflip in celebration. He didn’t quite stick the landing, but it was a good effort. De La Rosa normally fights at 154 pounds which gives him a lot of good options.

Veteran Humberto Soto (65-8-2, 35 KOs) defeated John Molina Jr. (27-5-0, 22 KOs) in a lopsided unanimous decision.

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 +

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.  

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