Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Belated Thoughts On PBC 8/27/2016 Card

The Premier Boxing Champions series has steadily increased in popularity among both Boxing fans and experts alike since its debut in January of last year. Beyond the much-needed exposure that the series has brought the sport, one of the primary reasons for the series popularity is it has put on several competitive fights and entertaining cards since its inception. The latest Premier Boxing Champions card, which took place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA on August 27th, certainly fit the description of competitive and entertaining.

In the main event of this card former two-division world champion Robert Guerrero returned to the ring for the first time since dropping a hard fought twelve round unanimous decision to two-division world champion Danny Garcia in January of this year in a bout for the vacated World Boxing Council (WBC) Welterweight world championship. Guerrero’s opponent for the would be “Comeback” fight was David Peralta. Peralta, a veteran of twenty-eight professional bouts prior to this encounter against Guerrero was a relative unknown outside of his native Cordoba, Argentina and was taking a significant step up in the class of his opposition against the former world champion.

It is difficult sometimes to form an opinion on what one could expect to take place in a fight where one fighter is a relative unknown. Based on Peralta’s record however, a respectable 25-2-1, with 14 Knockouts, but a record compiled against opposition that was also largely unknown to most Boxing fans and experts, it was understandable why most considered Peralta to be a significant underdog against Guerrero.

The one thing that stood out early on in this fight in this observer’s eyes was Peralta’s style in that it was an awkward style in terms of his movement and it seemed that Guerrero could have some trouble landing punches consistently. This did not however, have much impact on Guerrero in the early rounds as he was able to land the cleaner punches of the two. Peralta did show that he had come to fight and it was competitive from start to finish as the two fighters engaged in a tactical battle.

Although Peralta was able to have periods of effectiveness in the early rounds, the primary difference was Guerrero’s ability to not only land the cleaner punches, but land the harder attention grabbing blows. This would change as the fight progressed. As the fight entered the middle rounds, Peralta began having more success as he was able to gradually take control of the tempo of the combat in using his jab to control distance as well as being effective in landing his right hand as well as combinations.

What was impressive about Peralta’s performance as the fight went on beyond it being an impressive one in terms of how he was able to out box Guerrero as the bout progressed was how he did not get discouraged particularly during times when he would get caught with solid power punches from Guerrero in the middle of some heated exchanges. Peralta’s ability to use movement, land punches both from distance as well as when Guerrero pressed forward, and ability to make Guerrero miss became the story the fight.

There was however, a confusing moment in the ninth round of this fight where Peralta struck Guerrero with two right hands that sent him staggering into a neutral corner where it appeared that the ropes prevented Guerrero from fully going down to the canvas. Under most circumstances when something like this occurs in a fight, it is normally ruled a knockdown on the basis of the ropes preventing a fighter from going down the canvas. In this instance, there was no such ruling from Referee Ray Corona. Video replays however, appeared to indicate that the fighters legs may have gotten tangled as Guerrero was struck with the punches from Peralta and thus if there were a ruling of no knockdown, it would have been the correct call. It was nevertheless confusing as Corona did not indicate that Guerrero stumbling into the corner was a result of a slip. The confusion notwithstanding, it did nothing to diminish Peralta’s performance as he would go on to win a twelve round split decision over Guerrero in a fight that I unofficially scored seven rounds to five in his favor or 115-113 in points.

Also on this card, undefeated rising Jr. Middleweight prospect Terrell Gausha scored a ten round majority decision over a very “Game” Steven Martinez. Martinez was very effective in the first half of this fight particularly due to his attack of Gausha’s body, but as the fight went on it was Gausha’s ability to land the cleaner punches as well as his effective counter punching that earned him the decision as I scored the fight unofficially in his favor six rounds to four or 95-93 in points.

In a battle between two grizzled veterans that was contested in the Super-Middleweight division Freddy Hernandez overcame a cut over his left eye in the fifth round to score a ten round unanimous decision over Alfredo Angulo. This fight saw plenty of back and forth action between two fighters who were more than willing to engage. Despite suffering the cut, Hernandez executed a good fight plan using movement to offset Angulo’s pressure and outworked him throughout the fight. Although Angulo had his moments periodically over the course of this fight, he simply was not able to land consistently with his offense and that was the overall difference in the bout. Unofficially, I scored this fight eight rounds to two in Hernandez’ favor or 98-92 in points.

Overall this card produced three competitive bouts where one could make an argument that the Gausha-Martinez as well as Guerrero-Peralta bouts could see a rematch at some point. Although some may feel that a rematch between Guerrero and Peralta may appear to be more likely given that Peralta was an unknown who was given little or no chance to defeat Guerrero and was able to pull off the upset, I feel that Steven Martinez gave Terrell Gausha all he could handle and I believe based on his performance in providing Gausha with a stern test is deserving of a rematch should the opportunity come along.

As for Freddy Hernandez and Alfredo Angulo, their battle was an entertaining one and both could end up in the ring against each other again at some point in the future. This observer believes it will be more likely that both could face other opposition before a potential rematch could take place.

All three fights produced interesting storylines coming out of this card as the relative unknown David Peralta is now a fighter who should be in the mix.  Terrell Gausha was able to remain unbeaten against a determined opponent who one might argue will benefit more from the loss as it will likely open up more opportunities for potential fights against other rising prospects and maybe even a rematch with Gausha. While Freddy Hernandez, a veteran of forty-two professional fights, who had gone winless in six straight bouts between 2012-2014 has now reemerged having won four straight bouts and should have some momentum going forward after his victory over Alfredo Angulo.

For former world champion Robert Guerrero and the always “Game” Alfredo Angulo however, some may wonder where either fighter will go from here. Although this observer believes a potential rematch between Guerrero and Peralta is a possibility, both Guerrero and Angulo are fighters who have always given it everything they have each time they step in the ring and had both been in their share of wars throughout their respective careers. Some may indeed wonder if the accumulation of battles have taken something out of both men. Regardless of each fighter suffering losses on this card, it will probably not damage either in terms of their ability to secure a lucrative fight down the line. After all, both fighters have endeared themselves to Boxing fans over the years for their willingness to take on all comers as well as having crowd pleasing styles. Despite Guerrero and Angulo each suffering a setback, this observer does not believe either fighter will call it a career and it will be interesting to see if both men can rebound.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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