"Good Fighters in Great Fights"

Super Lightweight Division

Second Round August 5th

Antonio Moran vs Jeffrey Torres

Antonio Moran vs Jeffrey Torres

The “Last Chance” 140-pound tournament, featuring fighters in dire need of a career boost, kicked off with an eight-rounder. Puerto Rican native Jeffrey Torres, from Connecticut, held a 10-1 record coming. The 25-year-old signed on to get an opportunity to excel and show fight fans and dealmakers he’s not “just” a New England plugger. He toed the line and saw Antonio Moran, age 29, from Mexico, staring at him.

This fight went the distance, and it was tight enough that those in attendance held their breath as Lichtenfeld announced a 79-73, 77-75, 77-75 UD for Moran.

Moran met, then, 25-0 Arnold Barboza in his last outing and looked decent against Devin Haney in May 2019 before being stopped in the seventh. Torres, meanwhile, didn’t have a career-defining fight to his credit—if he beat Moran, that would fill the bill.

In the first, Torres didn’t act like he was awed by being in with a seasoned battler. It made sense, according to Torres, that he’s picked up tricks of the trade sparring people like Shawn Porter and Javier Fortuna. The 26-5-1 Mexican got backed up and took shots to the body from Torres as the second round progressed. Through two, Torres didn’t look out of his depth at all. “He got Moran backing up a lot more, uncomfortably, than in the first,” Paulie said.

Moran picked up his pace in the third he was busier with his feet and hands. His accuracy stood out as he looked for openings and found them, while Torres spent more time covering up.

“Torres is more like the Mexican,” Roy noted at the start of the fourth, seeing Torres lean in and try to pressure Moran.

Paulie got off a good one, Tarver especially liked it when he said, “If only these rounds were four minutes, then Torres would be really happy,” having picked up on the trend which saw Torres coming on late in rounds.

It happened again in the sixth, Torres took it to Moran, and Paulie saw that the CT-based fighter seemed surprised that Moran wasn’t dropping. In his previous fights against sub-world beaters, more so, but now, no, Paulie said, chuckling heartily. Torres’ form deteriorated some, with fatigue barking at him. He dropped his hands more, and his balance wasn’t stellar, but he hung tough and tried to close strong as was his habit in prior rounds. Once again, Torres had to hope the sport would embrace four-minute rounds because he did some decent damage in the last 15 seconds. A jazzed-up Paulie suggested to viewers it would not be unwise to go to ProBoxTV.com, to subscribe to the service so they could watch the rest of the card. “This is worth $1.99,” the fighting pride of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn shouted, unable to contain his genuine enthusiasm. “Go to ProBoxTV.com now, get the rest of this tournament, three more quarter-finals tonight, plus Pascal vs. Meng, and then you’re gonna have it for the Last Chance semifinals and the finals,” he blared as Tarver howled. “You wanna watch the rest of this tournament, subscribe now!”

Zhimin Wang vs Joseph Fernandez

Zhimin Wang vs Joseph Fernandez

Zhimin Wang hadn’t gloved up for a pro fight in almost four years, so most folks assessing the 36-year-old Chinese boxers’ chances against Joseph Fernandez of St Petersburg, Florida figured that rust would be a hurdle. To what degree, we’d have to see.

Wang knew there’d be a spotlight on him in his Last Chance quarterfinal scrap because ProBoxTV is available in China on KOTV. He told ProBox News that he welcomed the mass of eyeballs because he knew the urgency of the ask, and he pledged to deliver. “This is my “Last Chance” and I will be 100 percent,” said the classy boxer, who turned pro in 2005.

Fernandez came to the 140-pound tournament with a fairly mediocre record. His demeanor stood out, though, because his intensity belied that 14-4-3 incoming record. “I am much better than my record. My prediction is that I am going to win all three fights and become a world champion. I train three times a day while holding down a full-time job. No one is willing to work harder than I do every single day and that will show!”

He wasn’t lying; that maniacal work ethic might have been the difference-maker, leading to the judges awarding the UD8 to Fernandez (77-75, 78-74, 78-74).

In the first round, Wang (now 11-4) nailed Fernandez, who’d been stopped in three of his four losses, with a sharp right at the end of the session. It buzzed him, but he quickly collected himself and grinned at Wang, suggesting he wasn’t bothered by the launch.

The size difference stood out, the 6-0’’ Fernandez has more meat on his frame than does the 5’ 8’’ Chinese fighter. Wang looked more than decent for his age and lengthy hiatus. Fernandez, though, decided to try and impose himself on the smaller man and the lefty started clanging body shots. Some watchers probably figured that could pay dividends in the near future on the slighter man. It was Roy who seemed to pick up on how Fernandez’s thudding body shots were meaningful a minute or so into the fourth.

Paulie had it 3-2 Wang after five, but the sixth round saw the larger man be busier. Maybe it was conditioning, maybe age, maybe Wang had been worn down a degree or two from taking wacks to the body, but his bulb dimmed. If you thought Fernandez looked a weight class bigger than the Chinese fighter before, by now he looked two weight classes larger, as he imposed himself on Wang. “It doesn’t look like Wang has the power he started the fight with,” analyst Tarver announced at the close of the round. “Your whole country is watching this,” coach Asa Beard told Wang as the fighter sat on his stool with a face registering fatigue and uncertainty.

The ProBox motto “good fighters, great fights” came to mind at the end of the seventh, when the combatants traded, which drew appreciative chuckles from the fight callers. In the Wang corner, Beard told the boxer his status: “You need a knockout.”

In round eight, Jones, Tarver, and Malignaggi were all heard laughing as they marveled at the back and forth action. The other ProBox motto, “Evenly matched high-action fights” was applicable as down the stretch, each boxer sought to wring every drop of fuel from their tank. The crowd stayed hot as all awaited the word from in-ring emcee Lichtenfeld on the decision.

“What a fight that was, man, man, man, man,” Jones said after the decision went out.

Kendo Castaneda vs Sonny Fredrickson

Kendo Castaneda vs Sonny Fredrickson

Texas-tough Kendo Castaneda scored the knockout of the night as his left hook detonated on Sonny Fredrickson in round one and spelled lights out for the man from Toledo, Ohio.

This match really stood out as a Last Chance prototype. Castaneda is one of the biggest free spirits in the sport. The San Antonio, Texas fighter, age 28, goes by “Kendo Tremendo,” or, when his mood strikes, refers to himself as “The Tremendous Goon.”

It could be argued that the Goon needed a win real soon, as the part-time Fed Ex employee had lost five straight coming in.

The 27-year-old Fredrickson, a pro since 2014, had been signed to promoter Roc Nation after a hot start. He had cooled down, however, and had lost four in a row when he got offered a Last Chance slot.

Sonny told ProBoxNews that he’d trained more than adequately for the gig. He’d devoted himself full-time to boxing for this. He conceded that he needed to turn things around. Even his mom told him it was time to win because he has four kids to tend to. And Kendo told us the same; his head was dialed on straight, he had no nagging injuries dragging him down. He promised to bring his A game to Plant City.

“I’m not timid going into this tournament,” Castaneda declared, despite being stopped out in his last bout, versus Raul Curiel in December. “I’ve been knocked down, I’m not afraid of eating a good punch, I don’t care. I get knocked down, I get up… knockdowns only piss me off!”

The live wire had told Sonny he’d retire him at the fight week press conference, and most assumed that this was boilerplate smack talk. You know what happens when you assume.

Malignaggi was finishing saying how Kendo was locked in on getting in close to Sonny: “Castaneda’s finding his way in and…” the analyst said, unable to finish because a switch-stance left hook landed clean and mean in the first of eight scheduled rounds.

Sonny’s hands were split and Kendo (now 18-5) placed the hook expertly. Fredrickson (21-6) hit the deck hard on his butt and back. It was clear his senses were scrambled as he looked to the ref while trying to clear his head and stand up. The referee knew what he was seeing and waved his hands right away. At 2:02 of the first, Castaneda advanced to the Last Chance Final Four, courtesy of a viral video finish.

After the Goon did his bidding, Tarver asked Roy what this loss meant for Sonny’s prospects. Roy didn’t pull the punch: “Time to find another career,” he declared.

Regarding Sonny and retirement, check back later this week and we will have information on that for you. (You should know he has a flourishing power washing business in Toledo.) But yes, when ProBoxTV crafted this tournament, they weren’t kidding about the stakes.

Michael Dutchover vs Clarence Booth

Michael Dutchover vs Clarence Booth

Michael Dutchover from Midland, Texas got the better of Clarence ‘Mr. St Pete’ Booth in a Last Chance tournament quarterfinal.

Dutchover had been progressing nicely as a prospect but hit a speed bump when in September 2019 he lost a hometown gala session against Thomas Mattice, on ShoBox. In his last outing, the low-key and upbeat pugilist took on Nahir Albright, hitting the deck four times in absorbing his second loss.

At the ProBoxTV Event Center, though, Dutchover restored some shine to his rep, edging a SD8 over Booth by scores of 78-74, 78-75, with one dissenter seeing Booth ahead, 77-75.

A veteran of 150-plus amateur fights, Dutchover, a righty trained by California fixture Danny Zamora, seemed to be in the zone heading into the bout. He professed to be holding on to zero negativity off of those losses and told ProBoxTV News his reaction to getting the call to do Last Chance: “This is a very crucial part of my career, I feel like this opportunity I’m getting is a blessing. This will re-energize my career.”

Those new to the ProBox product got a deep insight into the brand identity when Malignaggi in the first round noted that neither Booth nor Dutchover are heavy movers. “Why do you think (ProBoxTV founder) Garry Jonas picked them for the tournament?

Garry doesn’t want any runners,” Paulie said. “He wants all action, like we had in the first quarterfinal (Antonio Moran v Jeffrey Torres)!”

In round one, Jones said that it looks as though Booth was treating this fight as a massive opportunity, because, hello, Booth is 34 and his window is closing. Then, at the end of the round, Jones admitted that he saw Booth not following up on a sharp body blow as quickly as one would like.

Booth went lefty after being a righty in the first. Roy didn’t like the move, after seeing Booth eat a too-clean shot 2/3 of the way through round two. Watchers heard a mini treatise on switching stance, with Tarver telling fans that he is ambidextrous, but he didn’t go righty more often because his defense wasn’t as tight as when he stood southpaw. Jones said he would switch, but only when he knew that he had his foe under control.

24-year-old Dutchover was punching through the foe moreso than Booth after three rounds. Roy, before the start of the fourth, opined that switching wasn’t working well for the Florida-based boxer, who almost had his career (and life) ended in 2019 when he was hit three times in a drive-by attack.

Trainer Rick Carronogan, after the fourth, told Booth to, “breathe deep, relax.” That may have been a hint as to an issue that the fighter struggles with. He’d advised the Floridian to relax after the second as well.

In the fifth, Booth looked to get to Dutchover, but his aggression wasn’t too effective, he was too polite. Carronogan asked for work on the body from the ten-year vet after the fifth. Dutchover moved smartly in the sixth, and Booth would follow, but he didn’t cut that ring off. All the ex-fighters focused on Booth and pointed out how he might be able to be more effective in round seven. “Can’t catch up with him if you’re following him,” Jones noted. “Another round like this, Booth maybe is gonna need a knockout,” Tarver intoned after the charming Texan looked to be the better ring general.

Booth going lefty in the eighth didn’t impress Tarver or Roy or Paulie, and Malignaggi said midway through that Booth needed a knockout. “I would have liked to see what happened if Booth stayed orthodox,” Roy said.

That didn’t happen, and this fight didn’t really lift off. But for Dutchover (16-2) the methodology employed seemed sound. He fought focused and savvy, and didn’t leave himself open to take on Booth (21-5) fire, one fight after his chin got harshly nicked.

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