HBO Jezreel Corrales vs Alberto Machado, Demetrius Andrade vs Alantez Fox, and Zhanat Zhakiyanov vs Ryan Burnett
BY KID HERSH
From the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona New York came an action packed tripleheader card on HBO "Boxing After Dark".
First up was a tape delay of Zhanat Zhakiyanov (27-1, 18KO's) defending his title on hostile territory in Belfast against Ryan Burnett (17-0, 9KO's). In the first round ZZ pressed forward and made it an inside fight - per his style. Burnett looked slightly flustered as he tried to create distance and you could tell he definitely carried the power between the two fighters because his punches moved ZZ when they landed. In the second round ZZ got off to a good start as he was nailing Burnett with punches in the first half of the round but then in the second half of the round Burnett was able to get his shots off first while creating some distance with his footwork. It was not perfect, but he was starting to get the job done for the first time in the fight. In the third round Burnett was able to push ZZ backwards for the first time in the fight - something that is not a good sign for the Kazakh native but also something that did not last throughout the round. The fight was very difficult to score due to both fighters giving as good as they were taking while inside fighting. This continued to be the case for the coming rounds in a very grueling fight where it was still tough to pick between the two fighters. Burnett was not having his kind of fight in my opinion - instead ZZ was getting his style of fight, so that was one reason to give him the rounds. On the other side Burnett had better footwork and heavier hands when he landed flush and seemed to be getting in the clear blows - at least at times. It was in the second half of the seventh round that Burnett seemed to turn the tide of the fight in his favor as he was able to push ZZ backwards and looked the fresher man. He did this again in the eighth round with success as Jim Lampley pointed out that he seemed to have the fresher legs. Burnett seemed to get a second wind late in the fight - starting in the eighth round or so when he was very quick and energized and the typically tireless champion ZZ was just a shade slower than normal; enough to be able to tell the difference and enough to be losing the rounds in a close contest. In the championship rounds ZZ was trying to turn the tide and make an impression but he could only do it in bursts as Burnett was still very fresh, despite the grueling fight, and had the faster hands and straighter punches. The cards would come in a UD win for Burnett as he was now crowned a unified champion in only his 18th professional fight.
Next up on the telecast from the Turning Stone Resort and Casino was an excellent prospect fight between Demetrius Andrade (24-0, 16KO's) vs Alantez Fox (23-0-1, 11KO's). Gary Rosato was the referee. In the first round we almost saw an early ending for the night as Andrade landed a huge left hand that buckled the long legs of Fox (he is 6'5!). Andrade went for the kill but Fox was able to weather the storm and make it through the round. Andrade would land a similar punch near the end of the round that had us wondering if once again this was going to be a quick fight. In the second round Fox was trying to establish some sort of rhythm - looking like he was unsure what to do with the puzzle in front of him. Boo Boo, meanwhile, was setting up Fox for more big left hands and was controlling the center of the ring rather easily. In the third round Andrade was targeting the body of Fox and appeared to hurt him from the shots. Fox still looked like he had no answer at all to Andrade, who was dominating the rounds in every sense of the word. This continued in the coming rounds, as Andrade was completely outclassing Fox but yet not "inspiring us", as Kellerman pointed out has been the case as to why he has not set the boxing world on fire just yet. I couldn't agree more - Andrade is in full control and it wouldn't hurt to put the pressure on here and try to get his man out of there. Midway through the seventh round Fox scored a knockdown that was actually a slip/trip. It mattered not though since Fox has not won a single round yet. Andrade continued dominating the rounds - buzzing Fox a couple times in the ninth and tenth rounds but was unable to land the knockout blow that he appeared to be looking for. He has a good punch, but not a heavy-handed or one-shot knockout punch. Andrade would win the shutout decision (shutout aside from the incorrectly ruled knockdown). Fox only landed 52 punches over the course of 12 rounds.
Main event time featuring Jezreel Corrales (22-1, 8KO's) vs Alberto Machado (18-0, 15KO's). The referee was Mark Nelson. Lampley cannot seem to get over Corrales changing his hair from blonde to red for this fight - he has mentioned it three times on the broadcast before the fighters were even in the ring. In the first round it was very tense action, as Machado was landing good right hooks to the chin of Corrales - who was being a bit reckless coming inside. Corrales was landing good body punches mixed with some head shots as well but the second round was an absolutely huge one for Corrales as he poured on the punishment both to the head and the body of Machado. By the end of the second round he was breaking his man down as Machado was breathing through his mouth heavily from all of the body punishment as well as taking stiff shots upstairs. Jezreel continued his success into the third round but it was Machado that took the round over by catching Corrales on the end of his left hands - which have great power. Two minutes into the fourth round we saw something very interesting that few people have seen before; Corrales's mouthpiece popped out and Machado caught it! Has that ever even happened before? In any case the fight was still a lively one and we got a knockdown midway through the fifth round when Corrales landed a big overhand left hook. Machado rose and made it through the round but he really looked like a beaten fighter mentally despite going through the motions. In the sixth round when when Kellerman was questioning this fight being a main event on HBO due to the skillset involved and the meaning of the fight (none without a title on the line) Machado landed a short right hook that stiffened up Corrales's legs. Corrales was out on his feet but tried to hold on and in doing so took Machado to the canvas with him - saving himself a knockdown. I don't know if I have ever seen someone look at the clock as much as Corrales is in this fight - it is about every five seconds! And I don't just mean this round - I mean for nearly the entire fight. Corrales would make it through the round - just barely - only to recover when he was coming out for the seventh round. Corrales appeared recovered, like the veteran that he is, getting his legs back under him. It was in the eighth round that we had a sudden stop to the fight when Machado was plodding away the same as he has in every single other round and landed a left hand flush the same time that Corrales was lunging in with his own left hand. Corrales's left landed but it was Machado's that was much heavier and the decision maker between the two. Corrales slumped down forward - trying to grab Machado and bring him down with him - but he was down hard. Corrales tried to rise rigth at the count of ten but referee Mark Nelson waved the fight off.