Commentary

Rafael's "Latin Fury" undercard analysis

Originally Published: June 27, 2009
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Good evening, Fight Freaks. I'll be with you for all the action from Boardwalk Hall's Adrian Phillips Ballroom on Saturday night. This is the smaller room upstairs from the big arena. It's set up for about 2,800 for tonight's Top Rank "Latin Fury 9" pay-per-view card. For some perspective, this is the room that hosted such memorable fights as Pernell Whitaker's comeback knockout of Diobelys Hurtado and where Oleg Maskaev knocked Hasim Rahman out of the ring in their first fight. There are 10 fights total on the show tonight, capped by junior featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Lopez versus Olivier Lontchi.

11:33 p.m. ET -- Lontchi has quit on his stool. Lopez retains his junior featherweight title via TKO at the end of the ninth round.

11:32 p.m. ET -- Round 9. Lopez has Lontchi trapped on the ropes and is unloading until Lontchi throws a low blow early in the round. The referee calls time to give Lopez a chance to recover and to warn Lontchi. A right hand drops Lontchi in the middle of the ring with a little over a minute left. Lontchi is up and appears OK. Lopez, 10-8.

11:28 p.m. ET -- Round 8. Referee Alan Huggins warns them both to keep the punches up near the start of the round. A left hand rocks Lontchi back. If Lopez would jab more and set up the shots, the fight might be over by now. Both men appear stunned from an accidental head butt with about 30 seconds to go. Lontchi continues to grab when he is in danger. Lopez, 10-9.

11:24 p.m. ET -- Round 7. Lopez unloading to the body and head, and Lontchi is throwing back and catching him the best round of the fight. But Lopez is clearly landing the harder punches, including a good body shot at the end of the round. Lopez, 10-9.

11:20 p.m. ET -- Round 6. Not much to differentiate them in the sixth, but Lopez seemed to get the better of an exchange at the end of the round. Lopez, 10-9.

11:16 p.m. ET -- Round 5. Lopez has dispensed with his jab and is looking for a big shot, but Lontchi is hanging in there and landed a few hard blows, but, again, Lopez is taking it to him. Lopez, 10-9.

11:12 p.m. ET -- Round 4. It seems as though every right hand Lopez lands wobbles Lontchi a bit, although Lontchi was a bit more aggressive in the round. Still, Lopez is in total control. Lopez, 10-9.

11:08 p.m. ET -- Round 3. It's all Lopez. Lontchi is defensive and grabbing and doing whatever he can to avoid the big punches from the aggressive Lopez. Lopez, 10-9.

11:04 p.m. ET -- Round 2. Lopez knocked him down midway through the round with a right hook, and Lontchi was on the move trying to stay away from the power shots. Lopez, 10-8.

11 p.m. ET -- Round 1. Lopez buzzed Lontchi with a right hand early in the round and controlled the action. Lontchi's best moves were when he ran in to hold. 10-9, Lopez.

10:30 p.m. ET -- In the co-feature, junior bantamweight Jorge Arce (52-5-1, 40 KOs) of Mexico scored a one-punch knockout of the Philippines' Fernando Lumacad (19-2-2, 7 KOs) at 35 seconds of the third round. It was a sweet right hand that caught Lumacad flush. He went down and, although he was on a knee, he shook his head and allowed referee Wayne Hedgepeth to complete the count.

[+] EnlargeJorge Arce
Chris Farina/Top Rank Jorge Arce had reason to smile after blasting out Fernando Lumacad.

It was a good rebound victory for Arce, 29, who was coming off a lopsided loss on Feb. 7, when he challenged junior bantamweight champion Vic Darchinyan but suffered a brutal one-sided 11th-round TKO loss.

Lumacad, 23, opened a cut over Arce's left eye from an accidental head butt in the second round, but Arce shook it off and knocked him out a round later. Thanks for following the undercard report. Next up is the main event -- junior featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Lopez versus Olivier Lontchi.

10:10 p.m. ET -- Junior middleweight Yuri Foreman (27-0, 8 KOs) and Cornelius "K9" Bundrage (29-4, 17 KOs) fought to a third-round no decision after an accidental head butt opened a bad gash over Foreman's right eye and he was unable to continue. The winner of the title eliminator was to have become the mandatory challenger for belt holder Cory Spinks, but that position will remain open and Foreman and Bundrage might have to fight a rematch.

Despite the unsatisfying conclusion, nobody is going to complain that the fight ended early because this was one of those downright terrible fights that had the fans jeering within the first 20 seconds of the bout. How bad was the opening round? Foreman landed 6 of 28 punches and Bundrage just 1 of 13. It didn't get much better.

In the third round, Foreman did hurt Bundrage, whose legs seemed awfully shaky. But Foreman also suffered the cut over his right eye. After Foreman was examined in the corner after the round, referee Eddie Cotton called it off on advice from the doctor.

"It's super disappointing," Foreman said. "So much nerves and energy wasted on preparation. I think I hurt him in the third round, but what can you do?"

Bundrage also was disappointed. "I was ready for this fight, but he was using his head every round. I knew it wasn't going to be a great fight and that I would have to chase him."

9:40 p.m. ET -- Junior middleweight prospect Vanes Martirosyan (25-0, 16 KOs) took his biggest step up in competition and destroyed the experienced Andrey Tsurkan (26-5, 17 KOs), who was pulled out of the fight at the end of the sixth round at the suggestion of the ringside doctor. Tsurkan was a beaten man after taking punishment and suffering a swollen left eye. Martirosyan, a 23-year-old 2004 U.S. Olympian, had his way with Tsurkan in the one-sided fight. With quicker hands and reflexes, Martirosyan peppered Tsurkan almost at will. Left hands, right hands, jabs, you name it, Martirosyan was landing it. He staggered Tsurkan twice in the fourth round, first with a left hand and later with a flush right. He snapped Tsurkan's head back violently in the fifth, when his eye began to swell. From there, it was just a matter of time. Good win for Tsurkan, who passed a significant test.

8:50 p.m. ET -- In the final bout before the pay-per-view broadcast, cruiserweight prospect Carlos Negron (3-0, 3 KOs) of Puerto Rico blew out West Virginia's Kenneth George (9-2-1, 1 KO), who had virtually no skill. Imagine the nine guys he beat! Negron, who is 6-foot-6 and towered over George, wobbled him with a right hand almost immedialtely. A few seconds later, George went down from a flurry of shots. He got up at eight, but he had no chance. Sure enough, Negron landed another long right hand and George went down to his knees as referee Steve Smoger called it off without a count.

8:30 p.m. ET -- Featherweight Mario Santiago (20-1-1, 14 KOs) had hoped to be in Los Angeles at the Stapes Center fighting Rocky Juarez on HBO as a fill-in opponent for the ill Chris John. However, Juarez rejected Santiago because he was a southpaw. So, instead, Puerto Rico's Santiago stuck to his regularly scheduled bout, an eight-rounder against Mexico's Gilberto Sanchez Leon (19-6-2, 7 KOs) and rolled to the unanimous decision, winning 79-71, 78-74 and 77-74. Considering that Santiago was fighting for the first time since last June 28, when he fought titlist Steven Luevano to a draw in an exciting fight, he looked pretty sharp. Sanchez Santiago lost a point for hitting Santiago behind the head with about 15 seconds left in the bout.

[+] EnlargeMatt Korobov
Chris Farina/Top RankMatvey Korobov, right, had little trouble dispatching Benjamin Diaz.

8 p.m. ET -- Blue chip middleweight prospect Matvey Korobov (7-0, 6 KOs) made quick work of Benjamin Diaz (9-3-2, 6 KOs), knocking him down twice in 82 seconds. Korobov, a 26-year-old southpaw and 2008 Russian Olympian -- not to mention a two-time world amateur champion -- dumped Diaz with a right jab moments into the fight. He finished him with a body shot that kept Diaz down for a couple of minutes. Just two weeks ago, Korobov went the four-round distance for the first time as a professional in a dominant shutout decision win against Loren Myers on the Miguel Cotto-Joshua Clottey undercard at New York's Madison Square Garden. Saturday's fight was supposed to have been Korobov's first scheduled six-rounder but it was cut to a four-rounder shortly before the bout because of a time crunch before the televised fights were scheduled to begin.

7:50 p.m. ET -- Paterson, N.J., junior welterweight Jeremy Bryan (10-0, 4 KOs), a 2008 U.S. Olympic trials semifinalist, won a lopsided six-round decision against Josh Beeman (4-3-2, 2 KOs) of Providence, R.I. in a solid fight. Bryan, who served as Miguel Cotto's main sparring partner when Cotto was getting ready for his June 13 fight with Joshua Clottey, won 60-54, 60-53 and 59-55. Still trying to figure out how the judge who had it 60-53 had a 10-8 round in there when there was no knockdown and no overly dominant round.

7:20 p.m. ET -- Be happy this one wasn't part of the television broadcast. Junior welterweight Michael Torres (13-0, 7 KOs), of Jersey City, N.J., easily outboxed Humberto Tapia (13-11-1, 2 KOs) for a shutout decision. All three judges had it 60-54.

6:50 p.m. ET -- The first fight of the night got things off to a solid start as lightweights Hector Marengo (5-0-1, 3 KOs) of Puerto Rico and Houston's Angel Rodriguez (3-3-2, 2 KOs) slugged it out in an entertaining six-round draw. It probably wasn't the best thing for Marengo, whom Top Rank has been considering signing. One judge had it 58-56 for Marengo, one had it 58-56 for Rodriguez and the third had it 57-57.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.