Jose Benavidez Jr vs Jorge Paez Jr & Emmanuel Taylor vs Antonio Orozco
BY KID HERSH
From Phoenix, Arizona came Friday Night Knockout by Trutv. First up was Emmanuel Taylor (18-3, 12ko's) vs Antonio Orozco (21-0, 15ko's). In the first round Orozco was putting in serious body work, banging away to the body even more than he was going upstairs. Taylor was covering up and trying to show his presence while standing his ground but he was taking a lot of body punishment in the process. It was more of the same in the second round, except that by the end of the round when Taylor was again pressing Orozco was timing him out and being the first to get his punches off, which Taylor didn't see coming. After a closely fought third round Orozco came on strong in the fourth, going back to his body shots and walking Taylor down while throwing combinations that kept him guessing. In the fifth round Orozco was still the ring general, with Taylor looking a bit worn down from all the body shots that he has put in the bank. In the sixth round a real fight broke out as neither man wanted to back down in this ten rounder that could be fairly close on the cards (I feel like Orozco is slightly ahead though). Orozco started off the round by pressing and throwing power shots but by the end of it was getting tagged by some nice Taylor right hands and left hooks that were snapping his head backwards. The fighters swapped roles in the seventh round, with Taylor pressing Orozco and getting off first for the first half of the round, with Orozco coming on in the second half of the round. It is like they are swapping these roles back and forth for every round, with one man getting his way and imposing his will for half of the round and then when he gets slightly tired the other fighter takes over. I will say that Orozco put the early rounds in the bank, on my scorecard at least, with Taylor making a very close fight of it the last few. Then in the eighth round Orozco changed his style up and decided to move and box off of the back foot. It worked surprisingly well, with Taylor coming forward and sometimes getting off first but at other times he was just taking counters from Orozco who was out of range by the time he was looking to get off. In the ninth round Orozco was still looking to box off of the back foot, but his left eye was swelling up from constant left hands that Taylor has been finding the mark with the last few rounds. Taylor definitely got the better of the ninth round, and then surprisingly in the tenth round both guys were so weary that the action was toned back a bit. Taylor looked content in picking his spots while Orozco was trying to get the upper hand yet but was not all that effective. This was a fairly close but very well fought fight between the two fighters, and Orozco would end up getting the close(ish) decision, with one judge giving it to him 96-94 and the other two judges going 98-92, which it definitely was not in my opinion.
Next up was the main event with Jose Benavidez Jr. (22-0, 15ko's) vs Jorge Paez Jr. (38-5-2, 23ko's). Benavidez came out for his ring entrance with an entire band to set the mood! Benavidez was all business in the first round, coming into this fight with something to prove (and you could see it on his face and demeanor!). He kept Paez on the end of his punches in the first round, as Paez looked completely lost with no idea what to do to get inside on the much taller and bigger man. In the second round Paez came alive and trapped Benavidez on the ropes for nearly half of the round, putting in effective work on the inside where Benavidez was too straight up to be effective. He did work his way off the ropes before the round was over and showed that when he gets distance he is by the superior man, as he stunned Paez with a hard right hand to end the round. In the third round Benavidez scored a knockdown right after the start when he hit Paez with a great solar plexus shot that caused him to take a knee. He was very noticeably hurt but managed to make it through the rest of the round as Benavidez couldn't put his punches together effectively to take his man out. For the next couple rounds Benavidez went back to utilizing his great reach advantage and marking up Paez's face. When he controls the distance like this Paez has no answer at all! Well, Benavidez showed that he has trouble sticking to a game plan because right away in the sixth round Paez was able to back him into the ropes yet again and unload combinations, somewhat working his way back into the fight (just a bit, but still Benavidez should be shutting this guy down no problem - he has the blue print already!). In the next couple rounds what I saw was a combination of Benavidez getting pushed around, due to poor muscle strength, and also I still see a guy that has a mean streak (as Boom Boom pointed out) but he needs to learn to control it and attack more consistently instead of blow his load and then get pushed around. In the ninth round Benavidez turned southpaw and despite Mancini vehemently disagreeing with the decision it was no doubt working for him, as Paez did nothing except for sit on the outside and stare at him with seemingly no way to work in anymore. Then Benavidez went right back to being unpredictable in the tenth round, with his backs against the ropes for half of it while taking unnecessary shots. More of the same ensued through the eleventh, and then suddenly at the very start of the twelfth round Benavidez landed a right followed by a left hand that dropped Paez. Paez surprisingly got up and quit - pretty shocking ending to the fight that I did not see coming!