Peter Quillin vs Daniel Jacobs & Jesus Cuellar vs Jonathan Oquendo
BY KID HERSH
From Brooklyn New York at the Barclays Center came a long awaited middleweight showdown on Showtime Championship Boxing. First up was Jesus Cuellar (27-1, 21ko's) vs Jonathan Oquendo (26-4, 16ko's). This is the first defense of Cuellar's WBA "Regular" world title (Leo Santa Cruz holding the full title) and he came out looking aggressive as is his style, going to the body and pressing Oquenndo backwards while trying to take him out of any sort of comfortable boxing rhythm he might work into. He landed some good right hands down the pipe but was outworked in the first in atype of fight that suites the champion. Inn the second round Cuellar surprisingly let off the gas pedal, letting Oquendo get into a more comfortable state and hit the champion as he bulled in predictably in this round. He carried some of that momentum into the third round where Cuellar looked like he was getting outboxed at times while not being aggressive enough. In the fourth round Cuellar got more aggressive and promptly knocked down Oquendo a little over a minute into the round which replays would show was more of a tangle of legs than any punch but nonetheless it was ruled a knockdown. Cuellar had a good round while maintaining steady and constant pressure, exactly what he needs to do. In the fifth round both fighters would up a great effort in trying to get the momentum on their side in a close fight to this point. Cuellar was being aggressive and not predictable with his shots while also putting in more good body work. Oquendo was landing some nice counters but getting outworked and the harder shots were coming from the champion. Oquendo would sit down on his shots a bit more in the sixth round and take control of the ring for at least the first two minutes, with Cuellar coming on stronger after using his jab in the final minute. Also it looked to me like Cuellar was having problems seeing out of his right eye which had blood flowing into it from an accidental clash of heads earlier in the fight. In the seventh round Cuellar was not super aggressive but he was unpredictable and landing straight left hands peeriodically, despite being a bit slow and lumbering in leaning forward and coming in with shots from the outside. Cuellar has timed out how to get away with doing this style because he steps in at just the angle to catch Oquendo squared up, not allowing him to get anything off in return. In the eighth round, midway through, Oquendo landed his best punch of the fight; a left hook that thudded home and backed off Cuellar in a hurry. Oquendo thought his man was hurt and followed up right away but took a straight left from the champion that hurt him as he was wide open for it. It stunned him and the champion followed up but was not able to inflict any further noticeable damage. The champion carried this momentum into the ninth round where he was actually boxing Oquendo now, moving laterally around the ring and firing shots off and getting back outside - exactly what he wanted to do earlier in the fight but without great success. Now he has broken his man down enough to employ his plan it looks like to me. He continued this style in the coming rounds and down the stretch - looking like he was coasting at this point to my eyes, which is the advice his corner has been giving him as he is told to stay oon the outside and jab. Oquendo gave chase in the twelfth round but Cuellar was simply grabbing his man when he got in close - which was all too easy because as Paulie pointed out Oquendo is keeping his head down and not looking up at all to see what his work is or isn't doing, allowing the champion to clinch him easily. Cuellar would get the UD to retain his title in a fight that wasn't thrilling but he did throw almost 1,000 punches in the winning effort.
Main event time with Peter Quillin (32-0-1, 23ko's) vs Danny Jacobs (30-1, 27ko's) for the "Battle of Brooklyn". Jacobs is actually the one coming in as a world champion with the WBA belt, with Quillin losing his WBO title on the scales against Andy Lee - a fight that turned out to be a draw - among other title fiascos with Quillin over the last couple years. It took less than a minute for Jacobs to land a massive right hand that put Quillin on queer street that he blinded beautifully with a left hook that baited Quillins gloves to that right side. Jacobs went crazy like a shark at feeding time as he lit up Quillin like a Christmas tree - some shots being blocked and others glancing but a few landing as we wondered if he was going to punch himself out out. He continued the onslaught though, not letting up, and landed another right hand on the temple eventually that had Quillin reeling across the ring. Harvey Dock thought that Quillin was going to fall down but he managed to stay up - and he took a good look kat him on very unsteady legs and called a halt to the bout as Quillin had wide eyes like a deer in headlights, not looking like he had any idea where he was. This will be debated as to an early stoppage or not and someone like myself who has been calling for standing eight counts to be re-instituted would say that this is a perfect example of a world title fight on the big stage that could have used one. In the post fight interview Jacobs did say one thing that was interesting; "I'm not referee but if I was I probably would have still given him an opportunity." He also said that he would gladly give him a rematch because Quillin gave him a shot and he will return the favor. Quillin was very gracious - giving no excuses and not saying that the fight was stopped too soon. Both fighters were extremely classy and have nothing but the utmost respect for each other - love seeing that sort of thing in the sport instead of constant trash talking all the time.