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Feb 28th
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Home Boxing STAPLES CENTER ANALYSIS - Chris Strait at Ringside
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STAPLES CENTER ANALYSIS - Chris Strait at Ringside

abner-mares-vs-anselmo-morenoIn the main event, Anselmo Moreno showed that eventually his lack of firepower would prove his undoing.  WBC Super Bantamweight champion Abner Mares attacked at will, never really concerned with what was coming back from his opponent.  There were many close rounds, 3, 8, 10, 11 for example.  As usual, Mares employed low blows as part of his repertoire, but they were largely ineffective aspects of a potent body attack.  The Californian attacked his Panamanian challenger, rising from 118lbs, with steady pressure, left uppercuts, right hooks, and shoe-shining body shots... some legal, some not.  

Moreno was floored in round 5, and was routinely bullied to the ropes.  Although the WBA Bantamweight champion landed his fair of crisp counter shots, Mares was unnaffected by the blows, and by the middle rounds, was even inviting his opponent to strike him.  Ironically, the lone point deducted in the entire bout was one from Moreno for pulling Mares head down.  Indeed, Moreno was guilty of that offense, yet Mares's low blows and burying of his skull in Moreno's chest, were hardly the result of this particular foul.  One scorecard of 120-106 seemed quite ridiculous, yet 116-110 for Mares, as the other two judges saw it, was more appropriate.  Mares retained his title, and immediately called out Nonito Donaire.  Promotional difficulties aside, that would certainly be a great match-up for boxing, and an uphill climb for Mares.

Alfredo Angulo, corn rows and all, is back.  However, his opponent Raul Casarez, was chosen well.  The Texan was not a bomber, but jumped right into Angulo's chest, and in less than a minute, the two traded left hooks.  The result was a definitive statement about the difference in class.  Angulo, who has a total of 3 decision wins, all having taken place in his first 4 fights, IS a bomber.  Casarez fell hard, and stumbled on his attempt to rise.  In California, the benefit of the doubt is rarely given, and the referee stopped the contest at :56 seconds of round 1.  Angulo is someone who will retain a fan base for his style, heritage, and power, regardless if he can win at the higher levels.  

Just how much he has left is not clear, but it will be fun to watch, no matter what.  He is in an exciting division at 154lbs, has one of the biggest promoters in his corner, and trainer of the year Virgil Hunter working with him.  It remains to be seen if he will ever recover fully from the harrowing beating he took from James Kirkland in Mexico earlier this year, but he has certainly given himself the best chance at doing just that.  And with all that El Perro has been through in the last few years, things are finally looking up.

WBO Light Heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly defeated Shawn Hawk by 8th round TKO.  hawk fought bravely, but simply did not have the firepower to keep Cleverly off of him.  The good news for 175lb fans, is the Cleverly seems to be from the school of Cloud and Shumenov.  A long armed, broad shouldered action fighter who comes forward with activity and strength.  The bad news is that nobody in this division is fighting each other anymore.  Those would be exciting fights, between those 3, but instead, they seem to be lining up to face men who can beat them.  

Cleverly is likely another fighter who will get countered silly by a fighter like Dawson, Pascal, Hopkins, or Campillo, the four best light heavyweights in the world.  Who knows if Erdei will ever get in the ring again.  This is a division aching for a tournament.  This is especially true since there is a different promoter for each fighter, and only Hopkins seems to bring enough reward to match their own risk.  cleverly moves to 25-0-12 KO's, while Hawk drops to 23-3-17 KO's.

Leo Santa Cruz definitely needs better opposition, but no matter who he fights, Santa Cruz is quickly becoming Ronda Rousey-esque in his reputation.  Much like the female MMA star, Santa Cruz' opponents know exactly what the IBF Bantamweight champion is going to do, yet there is little to nothing they can do to stop him.  The body attack employed by the Rosemead, CA based title holder not only forced former world champion and Olympian Eric Morel to quit the fight, and his career, they gradually drained all the legs and will out of recent challenger Victor Zaleta.  

Zaleta was down in round 4, 7, and 8, yet was seemingly outgunned as early as round 2.  Santa Cruz, still undefeated, lands body shots that sound at ringside as if they are being thrown by a welterweight.  The facial features of Zaleta were visibly contorted by each rib crunching shot, by round 7.  Finally, in round 8, the referee had seen enough, after a hard right hand to the head, produced a third knockdown.  Santa Cruz improves to 22-0-1-13Ko's.  Zaleta, of Mexico, drops to 20-3-1-10KOs.

While it was a decent night for most of the young prospects on the card, highly touted welterweight Zachary 'Kid Yamaka" Wohlman revealed many chinks in the armor, as he was stopped in round 4 by unheralded Alonso Loeza, now 3-7-3Ko's.  There were whispers of trouble Wohlman had had with an ordinary opponet in his last fight, a technical draw against Jesus Vallejo.  For the first half of the first round, it looked as if Loeza would not test Wohlman's confidence, however.  It almost looked to be an early night for Wohlman, as he staggered Loeza slightly in the early going, and threw more punches than is customary for him.

As early as the middle of round two, however, Wohlman appeared visibly tired.  He was unable to seriously hurt Loeza again, who'd been stopped in 4 of his 7 losses.  Wohlman never gained a second wind, and was dropped hard at the end of round 3.  He never recovered, and was taking shots along the ropes, when the referee intervened :18 seconds into the fourth anfd final round. The Hollywood, CA based Freddie Roach prospect will likely need to make drastic changes to his strategy and training, if he is already having troubles giving and taking shots at this level.

Chris Strait

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