Omar Figueroa vs Antonio DeMarco, Victor Ortiz vs Gilberto Sanchez-Leon, Chris Arreola vs Travis Kauffman, Mario Barrios vs Vides
BY KID HERSH
PBC boxing- all day long! Some say they are trying to rival the UFC PPV today by having an all day event to see what the ratings are. First up was Mario Barrios (13-0, 7ko's) vs Manuel Vides (18-4, 11ko's). In the first round Barrios showed his superiority right off the bat - throwing textbook shots and landing them with power and authority. He is very tall and very long, lacking muscle, but knows how to throww a punch as his hands are fast and he creates good dynamics for power on his shots along with great leverage. I like how he throws very straight punches and also how great his footwork is - very balanced and mobile with his quick legs. Barrios would then continue to break his man down methodically over the next couple rounds, biding his time - being patient- and pouring it on late in the round with both vicious body work and shots up top. At the end of the third round he rally hurt Vides, having him nearly out on his feet when the bell rang. This would continue into the coming rounds, with Barrios biding his time and patient early in rounds and then pouring on the punishment to end them. It all mounted to the sixth round when early on he landed a right uppercut that came from the floor with all of his power, stunning Vides, and then following it up with a left hook that put his man down and out - toppling him over lifeless as he was counted out.
Next up was Victor Ortiz (30-5-2, 23ko's) vs Gilberto Sanchez-Leon (31-14-2, 13ko's). This is Ortiz's first fight back since the Luis Collazo loss about a year ago. He came out pressing in his usual manner and to do damage to his obviously overmatched opponent. He scored a knockdown two minutes into the round - a pretty weak one where a combination of punches seemed to weaken Leon, and then as his knees sagged a glancing left hand to the top of the head was just enough momentum to put him to the canvas. Thee referee was even unsure what to rule it as he looked around puzzled at first and then picked up the count. Leon rose and closed out the round as Ortiz is rusty enough to be not be very accurate with his shots or setting them up. The second round was more of Ortiz trying to press forward and do damage to Leon but again he is looking rightfully rusty and cannot get the timing on his shots down well enough to take out this overmatched opponent that should be gone by now. He landed some solid shots but his footwork was not in sync with his hands and they did not have the snap on them that they should have and were instead more so shoulder shots. Ortiz would get another knockdown in the third round but it was another weak one - a rabbit shot to the back of the head that put Leon down with the referee missing the obvious shot rabbit shot. Then to add insult to injury Leon was deducted a point for holding at the end of the round. The rounds would continue, with Ortiz pressing and showing good stamina but also getting nothing in return as Leon is waaaay out gunned and has landed next to nothing to keep Ortiz off. Leon is also in woeful shape - super soft and flabby - having been a featherweight just five fights and four years ago. Leon was completely spent in the seventh round, using all of his stamina he had left in the tank just to stay up on his feet - more so from exhaustion than punishment. The fight then came to an odd, Ortiz-esque ending, when at the end of the ninth with the final bell just about to ring the referee separated the fighters and waved an arm - with everyone unsure if the fight was being stopped or the round was over. Better it was over though - Leon could barely stand up and every single part of his demeanor said that he did not want to fight any longer (for the last handful of rounds actually).
First up on the broadcast from AT&T Park in Texas, which was continued on NBC after the previous broadcast in their all-day event, was Chris Arreola (36-4-1, 31ko's) vs Travis Kauffman (30-1, 22ko's). Arreola came out guns blazing in the very first round, looking to damage Kauffman right off the bat, or at least establish his dominance. Kauffman weathered the storm and the pace settled rather quickly. Kauffmann started having success at the slower pace with a good jab and also a couple of hard right hands; with the best punch of the round being one of those right hands with only twenty seconds left in the round. The second round was good back and forth action, with Arreola going to the body well and Kaufman still picking his punches out for high accuracy. Arreola landed the best punch of the round; a right cross that appeared to stun Kauffman momentarily. Suddenly Two minutes into the third round Kaufman landed a combination that ended with a right hand to the chin of Arreola; right over the shoulder where he didn't see it coming. It buckled his legs and sent him to the canvas - getting everyone on their feet right when they thought this fight was settling into a rhythm. In the coming rounds Arreola was backing up, feeling the pressure of the heavier man bearing down on him. He was landing some decent counterpunches but overall Kauffman is still dictating the pace and landing the better shots to my eyes - which is typically a good overhand right. Arreola changed the fight around early in the sixth round when he landed an uppercut on Kauffman when he was inside and not protecting himself well. The punch hurt Kauffman and Arreola followed up with a series of combinations - which is he known for but hasn't been throwing much this fight. Kauffman continued walking his man down in the coming rounds, out-punching and picking Arreola apart. Arreola was not fighting well backing up; no surprise there! He then got a breather in the ninth round when he was accidentally hit low and took a few minutes for a breather - exactly what he needed as he is gassing going down the stretch and maybe even getting broken down by Kauffman. Arreola had himself a good tenth round - benefitting from the long rest the previous round no doubt as he came to life and got busy with his punches, finally outworking Kauffman for an entire round. The championship rounds were very closely fought - with Kauffman still coming forward but very noticeably arm weary and tired. Arreola was very tired himself of course and near exhaustion but he was able to dig deep and looked like he had more energy between the two fighters. Arreola would go on to win the SD. It was a fairly close fight but really I thought that Kauffman deserved the nod in this one - being the aggressor throughout and also the busier man while also knocking down Arreola.
Next up was the main event with Antonio DeMarco (31-5-1, 23ko's) vs Omar Figueroa (25-0-1, 18ko's). Figueroa was using his overwhelming style early in the fight effectively, trapping DeMarco on the ropes and putting him out of his comfort zone. DeMarco was not even trying to box his man early in this fight, which is a bit puzzling to me considering when he is in the center of the ring he is easily winning the fight but he is allowing himself to get pushed against the ropes. He also does not have much of a work rate to speak of. I thought that early on he was letting Figueroa tire himself out but even after his first initial three round onslaught DeMarco did not fully take control - except in the fourth round when he showed great defense and authority with his shots. Then Figueroa took right back over though in the fifth, pressing the fight and outworking DeMarco. DeMarco then suddenly turned up his work rate and tempo in the seventh round, slamming home solid shots to the body and the head of Figueroa - who only knows how to come forward. Figueroa looked very weary by the end of the round but came out pretty fresh looking for the eighth round and took some control back as DeMarco's work rate surprisingly went down again. It is almost maddening at times because he controls from the center of the ring and is throwing that advantage away - not even throwing any sort of jab either. DeMarco also has a pretty good defense going to blunt the punches in bunches coming from Figueroa but looks like he is simply getting overwhelmed by all the leather flying at him constantly. DeMarco rallied in the eleventh round - hurting Figueroa with straight lefts and right hooks and the referee taking a close look - nearly stopping the fight at one point but Figueroa weathered the storm. The twelfth and final round was a doozy - both men closing the show trading punches and giving absolutely everything they had. Figueroa would go on to win the close UD in another fight that was a war to watch and fun for the viewing audience - it's basically just a guaranteed when Figueroa fights.