Chris Pearson vs Justin DeLoach, Saul Rodriguez vs Bravo & Andrew Tabiti vs Graves
BY KID HERSH
After Prison Fighters: 5 Rounds to Freedom ShoBox had a prospect card airing by Mayweather promotions. First up was Andrew Tabiti (13-0, 11KO's) vs Quantis Graves (11-0-2, 4KO's). Referee was Ray Corona. In the first round Graves was bleeding from the nose very quickly due to Tabiti's excellent jab. Tabiti was much faster than Graves from the start and the talent gap started to show even more in the second round as Tabiti was walking down Graves and forcing Graves to be defensive. Graves could not land a clean punch until midway through the third round he landed a clean, hard right hand with everything he could get on it. Tabiti took it well and it actually lit a fire in him as he got more aggressive afterwards, seemingly waking him up. The domination continued into the fourth round with Tabiti stalking Graves and finally landing a flush right hand late in the round that buckled Graves legs. He somehow managed to stay up despite Tabiti lining him up for more right hands until the end of the round. The fifth round saw yet another big right hand slam home on Graves but to his credit he is very game and not checking out - the only question is what he could possibly do to win because he does not appear to have the punch and definitely does not have the skills to handle the NABF champ. Tabiti continued staling his prey like a cat playing with a mouse in its grasp. In the final minute of the sixth round Graves was really hurt from a body punch that put him down and while graves looked like he did not want to continue referee Ray Corona missed the cue and allowed the fight to go on despite it getting cringe worthy because Graves is taking severe punishment and has no chance at winning. His corner would wisely stop the fight though before the seventh round started. Good showing by Tabiti but I just hope he is not falling in love with his right hand because so far most of his fights - including this one - look like he is just waiting to line up a right hand all night long. Would like to see some variety and combination punching.
There was a quick intermission to honor Floyd Mayweather Jr on his 40th birthday. He also did a live interview with Steve Farhood. Unfortunately it was the typical questions about continuing to fight and a Conor McGregor.
Next up was Saul Rodriguez (20-0-1, 15KO's) vs Oscar Bravo (22-6, 10KO's). Referee was Eddie Hernandez. Bravo came out wearing "Juan Rodriguez" trunks, which was a tribute to his father who passed away recently. Bravo was all business and super aggressive in the first round while Rodriguez was very calm as usual and did not get going until the second half of the round when he started to land hooks and straights one at a time, letting Bravo's aggression work against him. In the second round Rodriguez warmed up more but was still having trouble with Bravo's timing, specifically when he got his punches off first and surprised Rodriguez with his angles and sometimes looping punches that were hard to see coming when he was stepping in. Rodriguez is having some difficulty but still handling it well in my opinion, it's just that his defense is a bit too leaky for liking at times. That leaky defense would come into play midway through the fifth round when Bravo landed a right hand over the top of a lazy jab by Rodriguez that put him down. This is having shades of Miguel Flores vs Dat Nguyen from a few days ago! Rodriguez rose and made it through the round but he did not know when to clinch and when to fight so he took more damage while trying to control Bravo but not doing a good job of it. In the sixth round Rodriguez had more scary moments because Bravo was stalking him, following him around the ring and throwing far less shots but when he threw you were on the edge of your seat because any punch could end the fight while the harder on paper punching Rodriguez was not doing any damage to Bravo with his shots - like it was a boy vs a man. In the coming rounds Rodriguez was doing a pretty good jab of being the matador to the bull but Bravo was having his moments - in particular at the end of the ninth round when he hurt Rodriguez with an uppercut on the ropes to end the round with Rodriguez clinching. In the tenth round it was pretty closely fought but Bravo was still following and just not landing enough - Rodriguez was the ring general in these rounds even if he was the one uncomfortable. The cards came in 95-94 Rodriguez, 95-94 Bravo, and 97-94 Rodriguez for the SD win. Rodriguez just went down a handful of notches from this fight.
Main event time featuring Chris Pearson (14-1, 10KO's) vs Justin DeLoach (16-1, 8KO's). Referee was Jack Reiss. In the first round DeLoach was really creating the action and making the fight fast paced and interesting. He was really intense and had a high-energy output going by getting off his punches first from odd, unpredictable angles to freeze up Pearson in the first round. in the second round DeLoach caught Pearson with a left hand to the head that hurt him. He was holding on for dear life but would be put down from a flurry of blows that had Pearson crawling across the canvas and eventually taking the full ten count. Wow, amazing statement win here tonight that puts DeLoach on the map.