Boxing: Morilla’s Report Card, “The Confessor” Hernandez Looks Impressive
Our resident boxing writer Diego Morilla serves up a full weekend wrap-up of the most relevant boxing events in the worldwide scene. Every fight that matters is right here, in one place, and at one click away. Follow Morilla on Twitter at @MorillaBoxing
Chicago, IL, February 7
Roberto Garcia SD 10 Norberto Gonzalez, middleweights
A tough call on a true crossroads fight. Not to be confused with his namesake from Oxnard, Houston’s Garcia (34-3,1, 22 KO) also comes from a boxing family, and coincidentally his record stands now exactly the same as his alter ego’s record, give or take a couple of KOs. However, “Grandpa” Garcia (brother of current champ Mikey) retired in 2001 to become one of the best trainers in the business today (handling fighters such as Nonito Donaire, Marcos Maidana and more), and the active Garcia has been known to have problems trying to get to the next level, having lost his biggest step-up fight to date against a washed-up Antonio Margarito in 2010 but compiling a solid 6-0 streak since then. In this occasion, he came on strong earlier in the fight, but his opponent landed more often and more clearly. They both surged in the later rounds, with Garcia taking the lion’s share of the action. In the end, there was a 95-94 scorecard for Gonzalez (20-3, 13 KO), with the other two going for 96-93 and 95-94 for Garcia, who lives to fight another day and has now taken another important step in his quest to become the best Roberto Garcia of all times.
The winner goes on to: Garcia looked good, but he’ll need a lot of improvement if he wants to reach the level of “the other Roberto.” If he could only get him to work on his corner, maybe he would.
Kamil Laszczyk UD 8 Daniel Diaz, featherweights
Another crossroads fight between two intriguing prospects. Diaz (20-6-1, 15 KO), a contender from Nicaragua, made headlines in mid-2013 with his upset win against then-prospect Robert Marroquin, and had held his own in losses against the likes of Koki Kameda and Hugo Cazares, but Poland’s Laszczyk (16-0, 7 KO) is a motivated unbeaten contender with power and speed in both hands, which he proved by dropping Diaz in the opening round courtesy of a right hand. That punch set the mood for a domination by Laszczyk that ended with scorecards of 79-72, 79-71 and 78-73 for a solid victory by an interesting fighter to watch.
The winner goes on to: With Poland quickly becoming a respectable PPV market, expect Laszczyk to secure a title shot within the next 16 months at the most.
Huixquilucan, Mexico, February 8
Adrian Hernandez TKO 3 Janiel Rivera, WBC junior flyweight title
“The Confessor” Hernandez (29-2, 18 KOs) has one of the most intriguing nicknames in boxing, but he’s been punishing foes for their sins as if the end of the world was around the corner. Ever since he took the title from Kompayak Porpramook in a rematch of their first title bout, Hernandez (trained by the legendary Nacho Beristain) has looked impressive, and this destruction of Puerto Rican hopeful Janiel Rivera (10-2-2, 6 KO) is just another testimony of his growth. Hernandez came out swinging from the get-go, simply teeing off against an inexperienced and outgunned opponent until the carnage was stopped midway through the third round. Solid win by a fighter who should be “taking confessions” more often, and against bigger sinners.
The winner goes on to: Hernandez is tough and talented, but he needs to get more rounds under his belt if he wants to get ready for bigger challenges.
Tijuana, Mexico, February 8
Carlos Diaz KO 6 Miguel Beltran Jr., junior lightweights
A mild upset in a division that is getting more and more interesting. Beltran (28-3, 18 KO) is still young and tough, but he ran into a more determined unbeaten contender in Diaz (13-0, 7 KO), who took a beating for five rounds until he decided he had seen enough and came out in chin-checking mode in round six. As fate would have it, Beltran was unable to withstand Diaz’s onslaught, and the bout was stopped barely a minute into the round. Had this been a championship bout, the rematch would be all but guaranteed.
The winner goes on to: Diaz’s stock will soar in the short term, but in such a talented division, he can expect his bonds to lose value quickly once he steps up against the big wolfs.
Raul Hirales TKO 8 Fernando Vargas Jr., junior featherweights
Ever since he dropped two decisions in a row in 2012, Hirales (21-2-1, 10 KO) has been trying to get his career back on track, and to make things worse he’s had to deal with the added weight of causing Frankie Leal the fatal injuries that resulted in his death after Hirales KO’d him back in October. But Hirales picked up the pieces and moved on with this destruction of Vargas (26-8-3, 18 KO, no relation to the former junior middleweight champ from the late ‘90s), punishing his Mexican compatriot into submission until the bout was halted midway through the 8th round. Hirales may be on his way to becoming a top contender in a very interesting division right now.
The winner goes on to: Hirales looked good, but he always seems to be leaving every ounce of energy in the ring, and one has to wonder if this will affect him negatively once he moves up against tougher opponents.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, February 8
Jonathan Barros KO 1 Edson Bispo Ribeiro, junior lightweights
Occasionally, a fighter takes a hopeless “payday” bout and tries to make the fight look even. Sometimes, they fail to reach that modest task. Some other times, they look really bad. And then there are farces like this one. Barros (37-4-1, 21 KO) is a talented former champ who’s been known for using a dirty trick or two, but he has nevertheless looked good in most of his fights. But the matchmaking department failed him badly in this occasion as he was faced with Brazil’s Ribeiro (13-4, 9 KO), a fighter who was much worse than what his record suggested and who looked even worse than that. It only took a couple of punches for Ribeiro to literally jump down on the canvas with a fake grimace in his face, and when he crumpled again a few seconds later and showed no desire to rise and continue fighting, the referee begrudgingly stopped the contest in one of the most disappointing performances in recent memories. Ribeiro should be suspended for this disaster, and for a long, long time.
The winner goes on to: After THIS? Really?