Hopkins-Dawson Undercard Action
By Michael Montero - Malignaggi-Lora: The opening bout of the televised pay per view undercard featured Paulie Malignaggi against Mexico’s Orlando Lora. In the first round Paulie did more work and controlled the pace for the most part, but Lora continued to apply pressure and landed a huge right and that had Malignaggi badly hurt. The veteran quickly learned that his opponent came to win and began to dig down and tighten his guard. The big shot was probably enough for Lora to win the round, but that would be the only real moment of difficulty for Malignaggi. .
Article posted on 17.10.2011
From the second on, Paulie found his rhythm and began out-boxing his opponent. Lora was definitely the stronger man in the ring and landed some thudding shots on the Magic Man, but he grew increasingly frustrated at his inability to connect with anything serious. In the fourth round Lora suffered a cut over the left eye, but never seemed bothered by it as he continuously marched forward.
Round after round it was more of the same as Paulie seemed to land at will at times. Whenever Lora did connect, he made his mark however. By the eighth round a visible bruise had formed under Paulie’s left eye. But in the end, Malignaggi cruised en route to a decisive decision victory.. The judges score it 100-90, 98-92, 99-91 for the slicker, more athletic fighter. At the post fight press conference Paulie said he’s ready for anybody at 147; he should be lined up for a money fight against one of the names at the division now. He also said he could drop down to 140 should the right opportunity come up.
The second match was between Paterson, New Jersey native Kendall Holt and undefeated prospect Danny Garcia, of Philadelphia. This one started slow as neither fighter really did much over the first few rounds, although Holt did land a big shot toward the end of the first and Garcia had some moments in the third. But both men continued to feel each other out and pick their spots throughout. Neither fighter jabbed much, but when Garcia did throw his, it was effective. Over the rounds a swelling began to form under Holt’s left eye.
It was a dull fight, but things heated up briefly toward the end of the eighth after a clash of heads. The ref came in and checked both men for cuts, then ordered them to fight. Holt tried to touch gloves, but the Garcia pulled a Floyd Mayweather impression, throwing and landing a 1-2. Kendall didn’t seem hurt, but he was definitely pissed off, as both fighters swung away for the rest of the round.
Garcia dominated the action over the championship rounds. He had Holt buzzed several times, but never followed up. There seemed to be a lack of fire as he never went for the kill. Holt’s left eye was nearly shut in the final round, but he fought through it and had some moments in the twelfth. However, Garcia did more over the course of the fight and deserved the win. The judges scored it 117-111 twice for Garcia, with one judge seeing it 115-113 for Holt. That judge must have vision problems because it was clear to everybody else in the building that Garcia won.
The final undercard match was between Mexico’s Antonio Demarco and Venezuela native Jorge Linares for a vacant alphabet title. The pro Mexican crowd at Staples Center seemed to favor Demarco, but there were Venezuelan fans in the house waving their country’s flag as well. This would turn out to be the event of the night.
This fight had good ebb and flow early, as both fighters had their moments. Linares looked sharper in the early going and was putting rounds in the bank, but Demarco was the stronger man and never stopped applying pressure. Late in the sixth round Demarco landed a big shot that opened a bad cut right on the bridge of Linares’ nose, which got the crowd going. Over the next few rounds Linares was visibly slowing down, as Demarco’s pressure and thudding shots really began to take effect. A small cut over Linares’ right eye opened up, and the cut on his nose was getting worse with every round, turning into a deep gash. Still, Linares was doing the better boxing and winning the rounds on the judge’s cards.
The ninth round was action packed, as the fighters engaged in heated exchanges throughout. Linares’ face was a bloody mess and he fought with urgency, sensing a pending ring doctor stoppage. The crowd gave both fighters a standing ovation after the round. There was more blood in the championship rounds; a second cut over Linares’ right eye opened up and Demarco had swelling under both eyes himself. The eleventh round was easily a candidate for round of the year. Demarco landed huge punches over and over, but the Venezuelan somehow ate them and returned fire. Both men landed murderous shots and both men ate them as well, but Demarco’s punches were much heavier. Linares’s face looked like something out of a horror flick, as he backed into the ropes and ate ten unanswered punches, causing referee Raul Caiz to call it. The crowd went into frenzy as images of the violence were shown on the big screen. Linares’ face was still literally pouring blood onto the canvas several minutes after the stoppage; it was an amazing sight. What’s more incredible about the stoppage, the judges had Linares up 9-1 and 8-2 twice going into the eleventh round.
Antonio Demarco won the battle of attrition with his constant pressure and earned a title. At the same time, Linares won over the hearts of every fan in the house with one of the most amazing displays of courage you’ll ever see. Linares couldn’t attend the post fight presser because he was at the hospital, but Demarco showed up with his family and appeared teary eyed as he addressed the media. “This night is like a fairy tale”, he said, “after eating out of the garbage (in his youth when he was very poor), I am a world champion.” It was a very touching moment for everybody, as Demarco summed it all up with his last statement. “Never stop fighting for your dream, tonight my dream came true.”
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