Jarrell Miller vs Kassi, Mason Menard vs Mamadjonov, Bakhtiyar Eyubov vs Mayfield, Nieves vs Santiago
BY KID HERSH
From Rochester New York at the Rochester Rhinos Stadium came ShoBox The New Generation. Love these cards because typically at least one guy rises to the occasion and you suddenly have a fighter with superstar potential on the radar.
First up was Bakhtiyar Eyubov (10-0, 10KO's) vs Karim Mayfield (19-3-1, 11KO's). In the first round Mayfield pulled the veteran move of rushing out and straight at Eyubov. He was smothering Eyubovs punches and for the first half of the round Eyubov could not get off. Slowly and gradually he did get his shots off though one at a time. They were very powerful punches and were stinging Mayfield. Mayfield S chin held up to these single blows that came intermittingly but by the end of the round you had to wonder if he could to continue to take them because they were freezing him in place to the point where I figured if Eyubov put a couple together consecutively he may score a knockdown. In the second round Eyubov took on a very awkward style of cross-arm defense while bobbing and weaving his way in but rarely throwing shots. When he was punching they were one at a time power shots but he was far less effective than in the first round. Mayfield was clever in using the second round to create some distance and try to box Eyubov but he was still climbing an uphill battle as his was breathing heavily from Eyubovs heavy hands. In the third round Eyubov started to look a little bit flustered to my eyes as he changed style yet again, coming in either squared up or even left handed now to throw his power punches. He is clearly flustered and not in control of the fight anymore as Mayfields veteran tactics seem to be working, with the momentum shifting ever so slightly in his favor by the minute simply because he is taking Eyubovs best shots and scoring in spurts here and there. Mayfield continued his success even more in the next couple coming rounds. You could see by the end of the fifth round that Eyubov was getting tired from loading up on his punches so much over the course of the fight thus far - putting everything he had into every single shot nearly. Eyubovs face was showing frustrating at the end of the fifth round and then in the sixth round he changed his style to yet another very strange one as he danced around the ring with his hands down and was saying "come on" over and over but was just amazingly.....weird in there as he didn't have any sort of real rhythm or rhyme to what he was doing. Eyubov continued awkwardly walking in behind zero defense in the seventh round and was doing more talking than throwing punches as the fight has devolved into a street fight. And I don't mean street fight in a good way - I mean it in a sloppy, awkward, bad way due to not real boxing being on display other than what Mayfield was attempting to do but coming up slightly short due to not having the power to hurt his man and taking too many stinging shots early that sapped his strength. Both men were tired and both in a tight race heading into the later rounds of the fight. Mayfield continued doing his thing and boxing the odd man in front of him that seemed to morph style ineffectively by the minute while Eyubov was still walking forward behind sloppy technique while perhaps winning rounds on showmanship (or perhaps I should say "edging"). In the eighth round Eyubov was deducted a point for a low blow. He has been warned multiple times to now but in all honesty he clearly is not hitting low on purpose it's just that he doesn't have a gameplan to employ. In the ninth round everything finally came together for the veteran Mayfield. He boxed beautifully, taking small steps to reset Eyubov while keeping him on the end of his punches. He was never a stationary target for Eyubov and he made the undefeated knockout artist officially look amateur. There have been far more embarrassing displays out there to point at for experience and skill gaps but one has to take into account the entire course this fight has taken to get to where it is as Mayfield overcame extremely heavy punches early on to force Eyubov into employing different style he was not comfortable with and then finally climaxed out by showing Eyubov never thought himself capable of getting to this point in the fight or perhaps any fight, as evidenced when he said before the bout that no one could sustain his power for ten rounds. The mental breaking shows. Mayfield finished strong in the tenth round, carrying the momentum from the ninth, but came up just short on the judges scorecards as Eyubov stayed undefeated via scorecards of 95-94 (X2) and 94-95, just edging it out by a single point. Eyubov then exploded into a strange dance (we have seen it before but tonight is just especially strange all the way around for this guy) followed by crying after the joy. This guy is really a character! He stayed undefeated but not by much and many would say that he was exposed tonight. What I would say is to back off that sentiment just a bit. Why? Massive step up in competition here and whether you think he won or lost you cannot argue that he jumped up leagues in competition as Mayfield iis a very solid and competent fighter that has only lost to world class fighters and never been stopped. Add on top of that Eyubov has never even been beyond four rounds and perhaps one can see why he floundered so bad after a hot early start.
Next up was Antonio Nieves (16-0-1, 8KO's) vs Alejandro Santiago (11-2-1, 3KO's). In the first round Nieves kept his jab pumping to keep the distance on Santiago, who was circling but out of range to land anything effective. This would change in the second and third rounds as Santiago found his range by darting in with punches while using his great, balanced footwork, to land fast shots on Nieves. Nieves was answering back but on his owns terms. It was a boxing match where both guys were effective with their respective styles but neither has posed any sort of threat to the other. As the middle rounds came on it was hard to choose between the two men - the definition of even rounds being these ones. Nieves was looking to find the right distance for his longer frame and did at times while Santiago was moving and using his speed to get in range. They were matching each other almost punch for punch. Santiago started to pull away a bit in the second half of the fight. Starting in the sixth round he was out throwing and out landing Nieves, who couldn't tell seem to figure out the smaller and more mobile man he was having a chess match with. Santiago was throwing combinations and by the time the ninth and tenth rounds came he was completely dominating his man to the point where he was snapping his head with hard shots and stunning him. This all coming from a guy with only three knockouts! He showed amazing skill in there - looking like a complete fighter - but sadly the fight was ruled a split draw in the end. I thought Santiago clearly took this one, he just didn't think have the power to land the thudding type of shots that lots of people look for in order to score. He clearly outboxed his man though - hopefully his performance tonight is not overlooked, as I suspect it might fall off the radar.
Next up was Rock Hard Mason Menard (31-1, 23KO's) vs Bahodir Mamadjonov (18-2, 10KO's). The first round was pretty slow going with Menard showing that he clearly has the faster hands of the two fighters. "Mama", as Smoger was calling him in the ring LOL, was using his deceptively good movement to blunt Menards output in the second round. he was moving around the ring and not letting Menard get off as he followed him instead of cut the ring off. In the third round Mama was effective with the lead left hand as he lashed out with it periodically while still circling around the ring to confuse Menard and still further blunt his output. Menard looks like he is looking for one big right hand which is a mistake against a slippery southpaw. In the fourth round Menard suffered a cut above his left eye from a clash of heads. This is not the first clash of heads in the fight but it is not surprising considering we are dealing with a southpaw vs orthodox fighter. The fight was dreadfully slow - with the lowest point being the sixth round where Menard threw only 20 punches and is seemingly frozen in time. But then suddenly a little over a minute into the seventh round Menard landed a right hand to the body that dropped Mama. He rose and was still hurt from the body shot. Menard pursued and wisely went back to the body, dropping him for a second time in the round. Mama would make it through the remainder of the round only for the fight to slow back down in the eighth round. In the ninth the fight was suddenly over though, with Menard landing a huge right hand that sent Mama back into the ropes with his eyes rolling back in his head. Steve Smoger let the fight go (surprise!) but it ended shortly afterwards when Mamadjonov literally fell over onto the canvas of his own accord with his leg leg draping over a rope. Only then was the fight waved off. Not a good win for Menard here - he was losing the fight handily up to the seventh round and really got frozen from Mamadjonov by seemingly not much other than waiting on his man too much and following him around the ring.
Main event time featuring Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller (17-0-1, 15KO's) vs Fred Kassi (18-5-1, 10KO's). Miller started the fight by lightly applying pressure to Kassi. He was looking to impose his size and strength of course but it did not look to effect Kassi at all until the second round when he started unloading more right hands that were landing at a high rate. A couple of them looked like they stung Kassi but he has held up well to this point. I just wonder if he will be able to keep this up because he is expending more energy by the minute and I think Miller is just starting to turn up the heat. Sure enough in the third round Miller was walking down Kassi and beating him up pretty well now as his legs were rubbery and Kassi did not have much to offer in return. Kassi would retire in between rounds as his corner claimed that he hurt his hand. In reality, he was definitely on his way to getting stopped so hand or not the knockout was coming.