David Benavidez vs Denis Douglin & Alejandro Luna vs Naim Nelson
BY KID HERSH
PBC on ESPN from Philadelphia first up on the card was Naim Nelson (13-1, 1KO) vs Alejandro Luna (20-0, 15KO's). Nelson is a very late replacement for Stephen Ormond, who dropped off due to coming in a whopping five pounds overweight. That's not all though - he was given two hours to drop the weight and came back seven pounds heavier! Disrespectful to Luna and to the sport of boxing. Nelson was surprisingly holding his own in the first round, hitting Luna with shots that he did not expect and did not see coming as he seemed like the stronger man of the two. Luna would prove that assumption wrong in the very next round as he came out and pushed Nelson around the ring while banging away to the body. Nelson did not have good body language, looking like he was slowing from the body shots and his punches looked far less quick and powerful than iin the first round. In the third round Luna's left eye was starting to close from the right hands of Nelson. Nelson turned the tide from round two, using his legs to blunt the work rate of Luna that was beating him up the previous round as it allowed him to get his shots off first. Luna got his motor warmed up over the next couple rounds and was the aggressor and the man landing the better shots. Nelson was really only having success with occasional well timed right hands but they had no power on them as they were looping arm shots with no base behind them. Nelson was answering back punch for punch against Luna most of the time but his shots were not nearly as effective or powerful so as Teddy Atlas pointed out; he is going to have to do more than just match Luna shot for shot. The fight fell into a familiar rhythm over the course of the remaining rounds (ten rounder). Nelson was not doing enough to take the rounds and only having success in the fact that he was effective in using his legs to blunt the damage and of Luna while unloading occasional right hands that landed flush. Luna, on the other hand, was not cutting the ring off - instead following Nelson around but he was still clearly taking the rounds and the fight.
Next up was the main event featuring David Benavidez (15-0, 14KO's) vs Denis Douglin (20-4, 13KO's). Douglin is nicknamed "Mommas Boy" because his mother dragged him into the gym when he was younger and is now, still, his trainer. He has far more amateur experience than Benavidez - who only has 15 amateur fights to go with his 15 pro fights so he is going to look to tap into that experience. Douglin held his own in the first round as his southpaw style seemed to give Benavidez problems. The action sped up in the second round as neither man would back down. Douglin was catching Benavidez with shots and keeping him from pulling the trigger nonstop, as he normally does, although this did not last for the entire round as Benvidez decided to get into a bit of a firefight in the final minute of the round. Again Douglin surprised us with a good chin as he took Benavidez's best shots and fired back while backing him into a corner. This does not, however, mean that he won the round or is the ring general please keep in mind. Benavidez is just too big and too strong to lose in the exchanges thus far. In the third round Benavidez had a smirk on his face that said "I got ya" as he pressed forward and unleashed more punches that were thudding home with authority. He landed some good shots to the body that appeared to be slowing Douglin by the end of the third despite his attempts to show otherwise. Douglin hung in there in the fourth and fifth rounds and was really having his moments, blunting the work rate of Benavidez by catching him with shots in between his punches or getting off first. I also think he may have worn out Benaviidez a bit from the flush shots he has landed thus far. As Teddy pointed out though, it is a bit perplexing as to what is happening in there because Benavidez just looks completely sapped of energy tonight, especially compared to what we have seen in the past when he has been a combination throwing machine. In this sixth round hee got his engine revved up and looked more like the Benavidez we have seen in the past as he banged away to Douglin's body and hurt him badly, nearly crumpling him to the canvas at the end of the round but with Douglin likely being saved from his mouthpiece coming out. He got a much needed break to put it back in and it was just enough time to replenish his senses and muscles so that he could come forward for the final fifteen seconds of the round to last through it. Benavidez was smelling blood and even threw a punch after the bell as he was so hyped up and ready to take his man out. Douglin would get another much needed rest midway through the seventh round when Benavidez backed into the ropes and a turnbuckle came completely off.. Boxing - the theatre of the unexpected at all times! Douglin got nearly a three minute rest and it really showed as he promptly pushed Benavidez into the ropes and banged away for the remainder of the seventh round - likely stealing it when he was previously tired and on his way to losing it! The turnbuckle, meanwhile, was being held together and holding the top rope of the entire ring together via a vice grips. Both fighters were very tired but Douglin was fading at the end of the rounds more and more, showing that stamina issue that popped up earlier but he was saved from with a freak accident. At the end of the ninth round Benavidez came alive again suddenly and was peppering Douglin with shots as he faded heavily. He caught him with a series of left uppercuts that put Douglin down. He was very hurt but stood up and didn't have to take any more punishment as the round was over. The fight was then over very quickly in the tenth round when Douglin clearly was taking too much punishment and was on his way to another knockdown or straight knockout. Benavidez pulled off the win here, but he did not look great in doing so.