Photos by Cynthia Saldana
One thing is for sure, if you attend a PBC fight card you will see a lot of fights. There were 15 on the card today/tonight, but this was a pretty darn good card overall. There were many fights that were full of action and had fans excited.
In the main event we saw Tony Harrison (28-3, 21 KOs) put the WBC World super middleweight title that he took from Jermell on the line against Jermell Charlo (33-1 17 KOs), in a fight scheduled for 12 rounds. There was nothing spectacular in the first round, which was no real surprise in a fight with this many rounds ahead of them.
In the second though, Charlo came out like he was made at the world and really went to work on Harrison. Near the end of the round, Tony was put on the canvas by a big right hand, courtesy of Jermell. Harrison came back in the third and was on the attack. In the fourth both men did a lot of good work. Harrison seemed to out-work Charlo in the fifth. He was more active and accurate.
The sixth and seventh were much like some of the earlier rounds, with both fighters showing life at different times during the rounds, and scoring points. When Tony had Jermell on the ropes he was in control. A lot of times while in the center of the ring they fought up close, and both could score often in that case.
Rounds nine and 10 were back and forth rounds yet again and it seemed as if the fight still might go either way. All that changed in round 11. Harrison was knocked down twice, and referee Jack Reiss put an end to the contest at 2:28 seconds of that penultimate round. At the time of the stoppage the scorecards had it 96-93 twice for Charlo, and 95-94 for Harrison.
At the post-fight press conference Charlo, who got his WBC belt back, said, “Tony had a plan and stuck to it. he fought a tough fight. I knew I had to step it up. Tony threw some solid shots. It was tough I had a lot to prove.
“I was just in there. I felt he got a few rounds; he did have some good rounds. The all-around goal was to score the knockout. There is a great possibility for me to fight a unification in the 154-pound division. I’m steering the wheel.
“If we do a third one, it should be pay-per-view.”
Harrison had this to say. “He hooked, I hooked and I got caught. I wanted this one. he earned it. Nothing was more important for me that to win the fight. He fought his heart out. I felt I was doing well and breaking his will. I made him fight off his back foot. I pushed forward. The guy earned it. I’ll be back.”
In a heavyweight bout that had fans on their feet numerous times, Efe Ajagba (12-0, 10 KOs) faced off against Iago Kaladze (26-5-1, 18 KOs). This fight was scheduled for 10 rounds. Ajagba landed good shots most of the opening round, and at right at the end Kaladze got in one of his own. A big right hand by Efe put Iago down near the end of that round.
A strange thing happened in the third, when Ajagba had Kaladze out on his feet. Efe turned away, apparently thinking that his opponent was going down, but he didn’t. To the surprise of many, Iago came back and dropped him with a short right hand! That really made everyone sit up and take notice! The war continued until the fifth. He was a warrior to be sure, but he was taking a beating, and referee Thomas Taylor came in and stopped it at 2:09 of the fifth round. Fans wanted him to get to continue, but it was the right call.
Hugo Centeno, Jr. (27-3-1, 14 KOs) faced off against Juan Macias Montiel (21-4-2, 21 KOs) in a fight scheduled for 10 rounds in the super middleweight division. The first was a feeling out round, as the fighters were studying each other. The second round was a good one for Montiel, as he landed some heavy leather.
Hugo came back in an aggressive fashion in the third, and the fourth one was back and forth. The fifth saw each man have good moments, and they traded off controlling the fight. The same was true in the sixth.
As the fight continued it became more obvious that both men were strong punchers, and Montiel kept coming forward and pressing the action, especially in the later rounds. They battled back and forth in the final few rounds and continued to exchange punchers. We went to the scorecards. One judge had it 97-93 for Centeno, one saw it 96-94 for Montiel, while the third scored it 95-95. This fight ended in a draw.
Super middleweights saw Petr Khamukov (5-0, 2 KO) go up against Maceo Crowder (2-4, 1 KO). This bout was scheduled for six rounds. Khamukov wasted no time, as in the first round and with 10 seconds left, a perfectly timed punch put Crowder down. He got up and was able to get out of the round.
We saw combinations galore from Petr in the second round. During that round, Crowder began to paw at his eye a bit. At the end of the second his corner waved the fight off, claiming he could no longer continue.
In a super featherweight bout, Jhack Tepora (23-0, 17 KOs) went up against Oscar Escandon (26-5, 18 KOs). This was a fight that was supposed to go 10 rounds, but it didn’t last one.
A huge body shot by Escandon put Tepora down and out at 1:50 of the opener. This was definitely a huge upset victory for Escandon.
Light heavyweights were next, when Andre Dirrell (26-3, 16 KOs) stepped in the ring with Juan Ubaldo Cabrera (24-2, 16 KOs) in a bout scheduled for 10. Cabrera looked outclassed from the beginning. In the third, Andre got Ubaldo on the ropes and dropped him after a barrage of punches hit their mark.
Cabrera tasted the canvas again in the fifth round, but was able to get up. Once he did so however, Dirrell went right back to work. Cabrera’s corner waved the towel, and referee Jerry Cantu stopped the fight at 1:36 second of that fifth round.
Karlos Balderas (9-0, 8 KOs) went up against Rene Tellez Giron (14-1, 8 KOs). This fight was scheduled for eight rounds in the lightweight division, and was a fight that Balderas was supposed to win. Problem is, nobody told Giron, and he came on with a vengeance. The opening round showed action from both fighters, but in the third a big left hand by Giron put Karlos on the canvas right at the 10-second warning. As soon as he got up and the fight was started, the bell rang to end the round. That was good for the time being for Karlos, as he was still on wobbly legs.
A blatant low blow delivered by Balderas in the fourth had Giron doubled up for a bit. In the fifth round both fighters were scoring points. In the sixth round Balderas went down for the second time, and again it was right at the warning. Referee Ray Corona waved the fight off at 2:59 seconds of that sixth round, much to the chagrin of Karlos. His disappointment was both palpable and visible.
In a welterweight fight that was scheduled for 10 rounds, Eimantas Stanionis (10-0, 7 KOs) faced off against Julio Cesar Sanchez (11-3, 6 KOs). This bout went seven rounds shorter than scheduled, as Stanionis dropped Sanchez in the third round. In his effort to finish him off, Eimantas just unloaded on Julio, and referee Corona stepped in and stopped the contest at 2:05 of that third round.
Super lightweights Jerry Perez (12-0, 9 KOs) and Tyrone Luckey (9-12-4, 7 KOs) stepped up for a fight scheduled for six rounds. Unfortunately, luck was not on Luckey’s side, as he was knocked down by a combination of punches. Tyrone got back up, but could not continue, and the referee waved the fight off at :50 seconds of that very first round.
Yovani Rodarte (11-2-1, 5 KOs) went toe to toe with Eduardo Rafael Reyes (9-17-6 KOs) in a fight in the super lightweight division that was scheduled to go six rounds. This fight went the distance and we went to the scorecards. One judge had it 57-57, while the other two saw it 58-56 twice, giving the majority decision to Rodarte.
Jose Balderas (9-0, 3 KOs) faced off against Nestor Ramos (7-11-1, 3 KOs). This fight was scheduled for six rounds, but only took three. Ramos invested nothing in this fight and decided not to come out for round four, giving the win to Balderas.
Anthony Flagg (5-0, 4 KOs) stepped into the ring against Jamarcus Warren (2-2-1, 1 KO) in a bout in the super middleweight division scheduled for four rounds. Flagg was dropped in the in the second round, but Warren didn’t stay on him. In the third, Warren surprisingly just turned his back on Flagg and stopped fighting. He looked to be headed to victory, but it was Flagg who got that knockout stoppage.
In a fight scheduled for four rounds in the super lightweight division, Justin Cardona (5-0, 2 KOs) faced Archie Weah (3-15, 1 KO). This fight did go the distance but the bout only went one way, as all of the judges saw it the same, 40-36, all for Cardona.
Raymond Guajardo (5-0, 4 KOs) went up against Donnis Reed (3-5, 2 KOs) in a fight scheduled for four rounds in the middleweight division. The four rounds were not needed, as Raymond used a three-punch combination to score a very neat and fast knockout in the first round. Nice victory from the 19-year-old Guajardo.
The fight that opened up the afternoon was between Adrian Taylor (11-1, 4 KOs) and German Perez (11-7-3, 3 KOs) in a bout scheduled for six rounds in the heavyweight division. It was all Taylor the entire fight, and while we went to the scorecards, the judges had it 40-36 three times, giving Taylor the victory.
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