Tarver Stops Santiago; Forrest Destroys Piccirillo, Donaire KOs Maldonado
01.12.07 - MASHANTUCKET, Conn. (Dec. 2, 2007) – Three of boxing’s biggest and most important players notched impressive victories on the final SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast of 2007. Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver, Vernon “The Viper” Forrest and “The Filipino Flash” Nonito Donaire each scored TKO victories before an enthusiastic crowd Saturday at the Fox Arena at Foxwoods Resort Casino..
Article posted on 02.12.2007
The tripleheader, promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, aired on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
Tarver of Tampa, Fla., retained his International Boxing Organization (IBO) light heavyweight title by disposing of Bronx, New York native Danny Santiago with a fourth-round stoppage.
Tarver, who scored two knockdowns, began as he often does, patiently measuring his foe. By the third round, Tarver began to land punishing body shots and left-right combinations to the head that quickly took their toll.
In the fourth, Tarver floored Santiago with an upper cut/straight left combination. After Santiago beat the count, Tarver continued to pummel him with blows to the body and the head. Santiago went down in the middle of the ring and referee Steve Smoger ended things at 2:53 of the fourth.
“Danny took some hard shots early in the fight,” said Tarver. “We broke him down to the body and finished him off quickly. That’s what I came here to do. Tonight, I showed my defense. I showed my combinations. I worked on the inside and the outside.
“But you will see the best of Antonio Tarver when the big name fighters step up. If anyone wants to dispute this division, they need to come see me.”
Santiago (29-4-1, 19 KOs) lost his second consecutive fight while Tarver improved to 26-4 with 19 knockouts.
Forrest registered three knockdowns en route to retaining the World Boxing Council (WBC) super welterweight title that he took from Carlos Baldomir in July 2007 with a stylish, impressive 11th-round TKO over cagy Italian veteran Michele Piccirillo.
Utilizing an intelligent and measured attack, the two-division champion from Atlanta, Ga., punctuated his performance with his trademark overhand right. Forrest dropped Piccirillo one time in the sixth and ninth rounds with monstrous right hands. To his credit, Piccirillo recovered in each of those rounds and fought back courageously.
Forrest finished Piccirillo in the 11th with a pair of right hands that sent the challenger down awkwardly. Piccirillo landed on his bent right ankle, possibly fracturing a bone and referee Arthur Mercante, Jr. waived off the fight at 2:21.
“I give myself a B+,” said Forrest (40-2, 29 KOs). “I got hit a bit more than I expected. I began to feint left and come in hard with the right hand. It’s an old school move.
“I would love to have a rematch with (Ricardo) Mayorga. I have all my weapons now, my whole arsenal. Another Mayorga fight would be a much different result.”
Offered SHOWTIME boxing analyst Al Bernstein: “Although he was ranked No. 2 by the WBC coming into this fight, Piccirillo was not universally recognized as one of the top three or four boxers in the division. But it was the way in which Forrest controlled the fight that was so impressive. Not only his offensive presence, speed and power, but his defense too. He slipped a lot of punches tonight. He blocked many punches. He is the complete package.”
Donaire, determined to prove he was no one-hit wonder after brutally knocking out previously undefeated Vic Darchinyan in the possible 2007 Upset of the Year and Knockout of the Year, recorded a one-sided eighth-round TKO over incredibly resilient and offensive minded southpaw Luis Maldonado.
Donaire showcased a complete arsenal led by a stunning counter left hook -- the same punch that won him the IBF belt from Darchinyan five months ago on SHOWTIME.
In the second round, Donaire opened cuts around both of Maldonado’s eyes. The cuts proved to be somewhat troublesome, but Maldonado showed tremendous mettle and fought hard until the end.
Near the end of the seventh, Donaire landed a solid upper cut and a tremendous left hook that floored Maldonado. He beat the count and survived the round. But Donaire came out quickly in the eighth and delivered a flurry of punches. One final left hook prompted the referee to stop the bout with Maldonado gamely on his feet at 1:16.
“I couldn’t move very well tonight,” said Donaire (19-1, 12 KOs). “My legs just weren’t there. So I relied on upper body movement and counter punching. I knew Maldonado was tough. He’s a great fighter and he has a lot of courage. I respect him and his effort tonight.
“I would like to unify,” continued Donaire, one of the most humble and polite athletes in the sport. “I respect Manny Pacquiao. He’s a great champion. But I want to be the first fighter from the Philippines to unify titles.”
Catch an encore of Saturday’s exciting tripleheader on SHO Sports Presents on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. SHO Sports Presents is a new series airing every weeknight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHO 2 featuring replays of the best SHOWTIME boxing and EliteXC mixed martial arts telecasts. (For complete schedule of SHO Sports Presents, please visit SHO.com/Schedule)
Other replays of Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING fight card will air as follows.
Monday at 8 p.m. ET/PT SHO EXTREME
Wednesday at 12 a.m. ET/PT SHOWTIME
December 11 at 10 p.m. ET/PT SHO2
Saturday’s telecast also will be available anytime on SHOWTIME On Demand from Dec. 4-Dec. 31.
Steve Albert and Bernstein called the action from ringside with Jim Gray reporting from Foxwoods. The executive producer of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING is David Dinkins Jr., with Chuck McKean producing and Bob Dunphy directing.
For information on SHOWTIME Sports Programming, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please go the new SHOWTIME Sports website at http://www.sho.com/sports.
About Showtime Championship Boxing:
In March 1986, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING was born when “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler defeated John “The Beast” Mugabi in a spectacular and unforgettable 11th-round knockout in Las Vegas. Since that time, the network has aired some of the most historic and significant events in the sport including both Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson bouts.
Always at the forefront of boxing, SHOWTIME has set itself apart by telecasting the most meaningful and compelling match-ups in boxing on the first Saturday of every month. SHOWTIME is the first network to regularly deliver live boxing in High Definition. In addition, SHOWTIME continues to be a pioneer in sports television with a number of interactive features across multiple platforms making SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts the most enjoyable, immersive viewing experience for the boxing audience.
For more information on SHOWTIME Sports Programming, including exclusive video, photos and more, please visit the SHOWTIME website at http://www.sho.com/sports.
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