“We both fought hard. It was a good fight so it was a good decision.” Shane Mosley
Apparently Shane hasn’t seen the fight yet.
For an HBO PPV/Golden Boy Promotions card with a terrible main event in “Sugar” Shane Mosley vs. Sergio Mora, the rest of the card that 13,591 fans attended at Staples Center was entertaining. We had two highlight reel “Knockout of the Year” candidates and the end of Vivian Harris on the televised portion of the card and the action had the crowd on its feet. But somewhere between the 30-minute break waiting for the main event to begin and the final bell of Mosley-Mora, the spark left the room.
Alvarez - Baldomir
Alvarez - Baldomir
Ponce - Escalante
Ponce - Escalante
Ortiz - Harris
Ortiz - Harris
It was a dreadful fight full of clinches, inaction and the occasional punch until late in the fight when Mora and Mosley finally let their hands go. Not much to see and certainly nothing to ever see again despite the judges’ scorecards of 115-113 Mora, 116-112 Mosley and 114-114 for a draw. Really. That’s about all I can say about the fight except to say that if someone makes a rematch of this thing, they should be banned from televised boxing and/or pay the fans to see it.
The real stars of the night were Daniel Ponce De Leon, 40-2 (33), and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, 34-0-1 (26), who both entered the “Knockout of the Year” sweepstakes. I take you now into the action as I saw it happening:
De Leon is up first against Antonio Escalante, 24-3 (15), and was boxing early. Escalante looked tentative. Boo birds flew early as Ponce moved forward and jabbed with no reply from Escalante. Escalante seemed tight but then he landed a body shot. De Leon landed a nice uppercut to the gut. They trade and probe with right hands in the corner. A lot of respect was apparent early from Escalante with Ponce really working his left hand, using it to split the guard of Escalante. Nice round for the aging vet.
Escalante pressed to start the second but Ponce came back with a right hand. Both men tried to get the other moving backward. Escalante played boxer/mover, bouncing in and out trying to avoid the straight incoming attack of Ponce. A nice straight left by Ponce lands and Escalante answers, only to be driven back by Ponce’s left hand. A long left hand slaps the side of Escalante’s head. Escalante landed a right hand and stepped in to land another shot but Ponce countered with a perfect left. Another left landed soon after as Escalante backed into the far ropes. But the round belonged to Ponce.
In the third, Escalante came out aggressive and looking to get into the fight. Ponce changed his mind landing a long left to the top of the head that wobbled Escalante a bit. It seemed as if De Leon sensed something and then Escalante made the mistake of trying to land a right after taking a left hook inside from De Leon and it was lights out as a hard right hand followed, landing flush, sending Escalante sprawling unconscious to the canvas at 2:40 of the round.
A jubilant De Leon said afterward, “I feel really good. At the beginning, I felt out of distance but timing was off. But I loosened up and got into my groove. I didn’t feel his punch at all. I want to be a world champion again so I want a world title next.”
“He’s a very experienced fighter,” said Escalante. “He is powerful and strong. He deserved to win that fight.
In the following support bout, Victor Ortiz, 28-2-1 (22), took out Vivian Harris at 45 seconds of the third after tattooing Harris and dropping him three times in the second round.
Ortiz, wearing a new tattoo on his back that resembles barbwire wings or something came out tentative, looking and looking, a whole lot of nothing to start the fight. Ortiz showed a lot of respect and it looked more like the “Zoolander” pose-off than a fight after one round; more threats of violence than anything.
Ortiz came out the same way in the second but dropped Harris after a right jab and left rear hook. Ortiz came out looking for the end and fired a left. A right hook to the head dropped Harris again. A long left off an Ortiz feint dropped Harris a third time. Harris tried to time him with a counter shot but he looked like the one who was shot. A left hook caught Ortiz and they crashed into the ropes. Harris wanted to land that big one. No jab from Ortiz, just circling and waiting for a bomb as his jab was more of a feint to set up the rear shot.
Harris came out pressing the action in the third. Ortiz allowed him to come inside; they pressed to each other and Ortiz whipped a right hook and a right uppercut as Harris began to fall. Harris dropped like a sack of knocked-out fighters and referee Raul Caiz Sr. said enough was enough.
Ortiz said afterward, “The fans either love me or hate. Hopefully, they love me now. I sensed his bluff at the weigh-in and I called him out on it. I think that I have progressed and learned a lot since the fight with [Marcos] Maidana. I want that fight where ever he is. I want a shot at any world champion. I am not dodging anyone and I am ready for everyone. I listened to what my coaches said and we got the victory.”
“He caught with me some great punches,” said Harris. “He looked very different. He was very sharp and accurate.”
Then the star of the evening showed up. It was huge ovation for Saul Alvarez as he came in to mariachi music and his fans serenading him with chants of “Canelo.” His opponent, Carlos Baldomir, 45-13-6 (14), had been stopped just once (16 years ago) coming into this bout, which is generally a sign at his age (39) that tonight that will change when announced as a fight storyline. Alvarez did his part to change it for him.
Baldomir came out jabbing to establish his presence while Alvarez wisely waited and tested Baldomir, jabbing here and there, then launching a leaping hook, and went back to waiting. A long left hook for Alvarez lands and then a right off a Baldomir sidestep. It was an uneventful round where we found out that Canelo is faster and Baldomir is still Baldomir: slow of foot but wily for a basic fighter. He never overextends himself but chugs forward and picks away at you.
In the second round, Alvarez worked in feints but still hadn’t made his presence known by using a hard jab or working to the body of the aging fighter in front of him. The crowd was restless. Baldomir backed up to the ropes and Alvarez unloaded a hard, fast right to the head and left to the body. They came off the ropes and Alvarez landed a nice left hook. Baldomir smiled and touched his cheek. They traded rights and Baldomir, who adjusted his right to a wide, awkward angle, landed his at the same time as “Canelo.” Subtle stuff happened there but this was exactly the fight Canelo needed at age 20.
As the fight pressed on, “Tata” began to land a looping right hand. Baldomir got to the kid a little, landing his right hand off that odd angle. Alvarez adjusted midway through the round and landed a nice counter left hook off a block-and-parry move. Two Alvarez jabs pistoned Baldomir’s head back and the old man got a little upset about it, charged forward and it was on.
A nice right hand by Baldomir landed late in the round and the kid came back with a left hook from Hell. Alvarez landed two flush right hands but Baldomir took it, tapped his chin and kept coming forward. “Canelo” was getting the test he needed.
In the sixth, the crowd began chanting Alvarez again. A slower pace ensued with both men having tasted what the other had to offer. It was a pace that favored Baldomir and he landed a nice right hand. A counter right by Alvarez late in the round stunned Baldomir and he fought back bravely while Alvarez fought wisely. Another right by Alvarez landed and legitimately hurt Baldomir. Alvarez got to long range, stayed there and kept Baldomir on the end of his power until finally he landed a brutal left hook that put Baldomir face down with just two seconds left in the sixth. The time was 2:58.
All in all, an exciting card with a bad main event. In boxing, it’s a mixed bag sometimes. Anything can happen. On pay-per-view fights these days, it’s truly “Buyer beware.” For those wanting to see Victor Ortiz rebuild toward a title, Saul Alvarez stop an aging ex-champ for the first time and pass an important test, and get a highlight reel of Daniel Ponce De Leon taking out a younger fresher fighter, this was your card. If you expected Mosley vs. Mora to exciting, well, there is something you have to understand. In boxing, they say “styles make fights.” No one ever said the fight they make is always good.