Andre Berto vs Victor Ortiz II, Edwin Rodriguez vs Thomas Williams Jr, David Benavidez vs Jackson, Montiel vs Lara
BY KID HERSH
PBC on Fox from the Stubhub Center in Los Angeles, California. Before the first fight of the evening the crew apparently just had to go to Victor Ortiz for a quick interview. I cringed before it happened and cringed even worse throughout it as Ortiz twice sang 80s metal. I knew it would happen, as odd as that is to say. Ortiz has that goofy attitude that is so absolutely strange at times it is akin to an improv comedian on stage that is absolutely blowing it (son). Now that I am crying that one away it's on to the first fight of the evening featuring the scintillating commentating of Danny Garcia and Mark Kriegel. First fight was longtime veteran Fernando Montiel (54-5-2, 39ko's) vs Jorge Lara (27-0-2, 19ko's). It was basically over as it began with Lara scoring three knockdowns en route to a first round stoppage where he put the old veteran out cold. Not much to talk about here because Lara threw technical fighting out the window and blitzed Montiel like a madman, fouling him multiple times but simply overwhelming the much smaller man very quick.
Next up was Thomas Williams Jr (19-1, 13ko's) vs Edwin Rodriguez (28-1, 19ko's). In the first round Rodriguez came out looking to steamroll Williams. Normally I would say this would have worked considering William's shaky chin and Rodriguez's iron jaw but what actually occurred is Rodriguez thought he didn't need any defense at all whatsoever as he nailed with flush, hard rights and lefts that stunned him numerous times throughout the round. He came out with the same gameplan in the second round and despite catching Williams a couple times and hurting him once he left himself far too open a nd did not respect the power of Williams which had already proved enough to hurt him multiple times. At the end of the second round Williams landed a flush right hand followed by a left hook on the completely exposed chin of Rodriguez. The shot snapped his head violently and despite only needing to rise and look halfway decent to make it to his corner the referee waved off the fight for his own good. A rare 2:59 knockout and even rarer in the fact that I believe the better fighter did not win tonight. Williams is going to go on to fight Adonis Stevenson and I just cannot give him any sort of realistic chance due to his technical boxing never lasting in fights and his leaky defense combined with shaky chin. Rodriguez simply fought the wrong gameplan but even worse than that he had at minimum a half dozen warnings that he was fighting the wrong fight and simply continued, thinking he would catch Williams and take him out. Maybe 99 times out of a hundred but that one percent hit tonight. Not looking forward to Williams vs Adonis Stevenson in all honesty - I really only see one potential outcome which is Williams on the canvas.
Next up was David Benavidez (13-0, 12ko's) vs Phillip Jackson (16-2, 15ko's). Benavidez sported the Dempsey haircut and he looked like Jack Dempsey in the first round as he went forward, engaging Jackson and slowly over the course of the round adding more and more power behind his shots. By the end of the round he had already broken down Jackson to the body and dazed him to the head as Jackson barely made it out of the round. In the second round Benavidez would further beat Jackson around the ring until he succumbed to the pressure in the second half of the second round. Benavidez destroyed him in emphatic fashion and the young 19 year old looks to be something of a solid boxer just like his older brother. Benavidez doesn't look like much physically when you size him up with your eyes but he really does have unique athleticism and his body is deceptively vigorous and energetic. He is very fast, very powerful, and very accurate. Dangerous trifecta to deal with.
Main event time which featured the rematch (long awaited) between Andre Berto (30-4, 23ko's) vs 31-5-2, 24ko's). In the first round there was a lot of dancing and staring at each other going on - nothing like the first fight fireworks. The only thing of note is that Ortiz suffered a cut from an accidental clash of heads that was really flowing blood over and into his left eye. In the second round the only punches of note landed were left hands by Ortiz. He pushed a left hand through Berto's guard late in the round that put Berto on his rear. He rose and was fine, making it through the rest of the round with no issues, but Ortiz is looking composed to this point despite the cut he suffered in the first round. In the fourth round it happened (to steal the famous Jim Lampley line); Berto landed his favorite weapon with a beauty of an uppercut that he got all of his leverage into and the shot put down Ortiz hard. Ortiz rose only to go down again as his recoupe powers were not behind him. He was knocked down again and did the old trick of rising right at the count of ten. Veteran referee Jack Reiss actually gave him a chance instead of counting him out and asked if he wanted to continue - to which he got no response and a facial expression that said no. And thus, Berto is back in the mix and Ortiz needs to start over again. Ortiz claimed in the post fight that he will be back - this isn't the end of him.