Rau'Shee Warren vs Juan Carlos Payano, Yudel Johnson vs Jorge Cota & John Jackson vs Dennis Laurente
BY KID HERSH
From Winter Park, Florida, came Premier Boxing Champions debut on Bounce tv on a Sunday night. First up was John Jackson (19-2, 15ko's) vs Dennis Laurente (49-5-5, 30ko's). I have never seen Laurente before even though shockingly this is his 60th pro fight. It should be noted as well that it was announced during the broadcast (if not previously in news) that the winners in this fight and the other co-feature coming up next will square off in this mini-tournament. In the first round Jackson showed that he is looking to box his man in this one, as he switched from orthodox to southpaw and circled the ring while pumping a jab and slowly opening up more of his arsenal. Laurente looked befuddled because his movement did not look good - with his feet stuck in the mud and unsure how to cut off the ring properly without tripping over his own feet while trying to get his punches off and moving. In the second round it was more of the same, with Jackson now going to the body and also unloading more power shots like uppercuts when Laurente was trying to work his way inside. Early in the third round Jackson landed a right hand that put Laurente down on the canvas. Jackson put on more hurt but Laurente showed good recovery powers as he maintained his composure and showed enough toughness and wind to fight back Jackson, who went back to boxing his man for the remainder of the round. By the fourth round Laurente was so frustrated that he was falling over himself, literally, to try and reach the elusive Jackson who is back on the outside where he is firing off like he is hitting a heavy bag with nothing coming back in return. In the coming rounds Jackson would just continue the game plan that was working so well of him changing stances and moving around the ring while picking off Laurente easily and having little return as he got off and moved. Jackson has a good punch but Laurente has one of those amazing chins that just isn't going to crack tonight. He is a Filipino and reminds me of Gerry Penalosa with his ability to absorb punishment and not outwardly show it. Laurente would get buzzed here and there but really barely showed any signs of even being broken down until the tenth and final round when he was breathing a bit heavy and looking a little tired, although he did go for broke early on. Jackson would go on to win the shutout UD.
Next up was Yudel Jhonson (17-1, 9ko's) vs Jorge Cota (24-1, 22ko's). Right away in the first round we saw a struggle for power, with Cota landing wide, looping, but powerful shots on Jhonson that stunned him momentarily, but had him firing back a minute later with a right hand that stunned Cota followed by a straight left that sent him backwards into the ropes two minutes into the round. Jhonson then trapped Cota in a corner and bombed away with all the power he had, hitting the mark but it only had Cota slamming his gloves together while he came forward as if to say "Yeh, let's fight!" Jhonson came right out in the second round loading up on his shots further. He was landing powerful straight lefts but unfortunately for the Cuban his power doesn't look like enough to take out the tough Sinaloa native. The action seemed to settle down after Jhonson realized that Cota is not going anywhere any time soon. Cota is a bit crude and fat on his punches but he settled into more of a boxing rhythm. He was still taking far more than he was giving in the third round due to his slow hands and inability to time out Jhonson, who was landing left hands at will nearing the end of the round. Then right as the bell sounded to end the third round Jhonson got careless while going after Cota recklessly and took a check left hook that put him down as the bell was sounding. It was shockingly not ruled a knockdown - with the referee perhaps missing the action to contribute to the error. Coming out in the fourth round Jhonson was noticeably more cautious of Cota, not recklessly ripping away power shots. Jhonson was still on top but the tides were changing, as Cota landed a left hand with thirty seconds left in the round that buckled Jhonson's legs and caused him to clinch. Cota, we now know, definitely has the power to hurt his man and despite him being a very crude fighter Jhonson is going to have to play it really safe so it doesn't land anymore! The fifth round showed that Jhonson is indeed slowing down more, as he is moving less and standing in front of Cota more. Jhonson came out firing powerful shots that he was loading up on in the sixth round and the fighters traded their best shots yet again, taking the steam out of one another in this grueling fight. Just before the end of the sixth the referee inexplicably took a point away from Jhonson for pushing and punching - which yes, I have seen him do - but no I have not seen any warning for it yet. In the seventh round it was a lot of inside fighting, with both men fighting in spurts and appearing to conserve themselves a bit. In the eighth round they let loose again, with Cota stunning Jhonson a little over midway through the round from a series of powerful shots. Jhonson decided to fight back instead of clinch and the fighters traded more power, as they have done plenty of in this fight. Nearing the end of the eighth round the referee made yet another blooper when Jhonson both slipped while coming forward and throwing a punch and Cota missed a looping shot that cuffed around the back of Jhonson's head. It clearly wasn't a knockdown but the referee was looking around, as if someone should tell him what to do, and so he made a 50/50 guess and guessed wrong while deducting a point from Jhonson in this close fight. In the ninth round Cota may have sealed the deal in this close fight when he landed a straight left to the chin of Jhonson a little over the minute into the round that put him down. Jhonson got up but his legs were not too solid as he looked to hold on. Cota did not all out attack his man but did manage to land another solid blow with less than a minute left in the ninth when he landed a right hook that sent Jhonson down. The referee made yet another blooper in calling it a slip when clearly it was from at minimum the force of the blow that caused him to go to the canvas. The referees name is Telis Assimenios. The tenth and final round showed two worn out warriors that have been trading power shots for an entire fight. The pace was slower but they still managed to trade more powerful blows with a seeming lack of disregard for defense - which is the norm for this fight. Yet again Jhonson got in trouble from the recklessness that shows time and time again he either does not have the chin to fight like this or at minimum he should not be fighting this way with the powerful hands of Cota in front of him. Jhonson finished the fight on his feet, albeit stumbling around, but lost the UD by a fair margin. I think he will look back and say that he fought the wrong fight - getting overly confident in his power early on when he buzzed Cota and deciding to try and take him out when he could probably just outbox him and not take so many risks that led to points lost.
Main event time with Rau'shee Warren (13-0, 4ko's vs Juan Carlos Payano (16-0, 8ko's) for Payano's WBA title and the vacant IBO world title. In the first round both men were tense and looking nervous while measuring each other out from range. In the second round Warren was jumping on top of the champion, showing superior hand speed but also the green nervousness that he will have to shake off in order to really be a ring general at the top level. Payano was caught reacting but no doubt biding his time since it is a long fight and the youngster cannot keep up the nervous-filled tension for twelve full rounds. Early in the third round Payano was getting frustrated and showed it when he finally wrangled the speedster Warren up in a clinch and promptly rabbit punched him. I don't agree with the deduction given by referee Frank Santore Jr. because I didn't see any warning but it is what it is at this point. This made Payano come alive as he shot to action and put everything he had into speeding up his punches and press harder to land them. He was successful, with Warren still landing some good counters in between Payano's shots. The fight got a bit uglier early in the fourth round when Payano was recklessly attacking Warren, who was crouched over and into him, with Payano still delivering shots to the side and back. Warren basically tapped Payano on the cup and Payano went down in pain, likely putting on a bit of an act in order to get his deducted point back from the previous round. In the fifth round Warren was really loading up on his shots again, picking his spots wisely but it's noticeable that Payano is getting to him more little by little with his constant high-energy aggression. Tough rounds to score already because it depends what you are looking for. As Payano kept coming in the sixth round Warren' punch output was dwindling until he had a burst output to end the round. Warren was putting in body work to slow the champion down, and Payano did not like it too much so he decided to do a WWE takedown to get Warren to stop pounding away to the body. Rau'shee was being chanted to start the seventh round and the hometown crowd (not from the state but clearly has more fans here than Payano) got him moving and throwing more than the previous rounds. Still, the unrelenting aggression of the champion could not be blunted as he outworked Warren for the second half of the round when Warren's output dropped back down. A person can tell that Warren has to work on his game plans, when to attack and when not to in order to score points in fights. He seems to come alive with all of his energy in bursts but then will lay dormant for long periods of time, making it hard to score rounds for him but an argument for him winning them still a bit hazy in a gray zone. In the eighth round there was an accidental clash of heads that caused bleeding from Payano. Early in the ninth round Warren's emotions got the best of him as he turned Payano into the corner and threw him to the canvas then added a punch to it all while Payano was down. The referee wasted no time in deducting not just one point but two points from Warren for the flagrant infraction. Payano was again wrestled to the canvas less than a minute later while Warren was trying to make up for the points deductions and it caused Payano's cut from the accidental head clash to bleed heavily, with the doctor taking a long look at it. Warren then again went nuts when the action resumed, clearly looking to hurt his man and stop him and in the process pushed Payano who went tumbling to the canvas again. The referee warned Warren that he is going to take points away from him again if he does it again. The ninth round that lasted an eternity finally came to a close with no more drama. The tenth round started with the champion landing a right hook that snapped Warren's head back, perhaps his best punch of the fight as he finally landed a flush power shot with his feet in place and his weight behind it. Warren recouped well and actually closed out the tenth round landing good power shots on the always aggressive Payano. The problem for Warren is that he does not carry great power and he has been trying to hurt Payano for this whole fight which isn't the best game plan in my eyes. In the eleventh round it was more good back and forth action, both men clearly trying to take these final championship rounds with the scores likely tight on the cards. Warren landed the telling shots in this round via right hooks. In the twelfth and final round the action was hot and heavy as Warren rushed right at the champion, looking to make up for point deductions, and scoring the knockdown that he wanted less than a minute into the round. Whether it was really a knockdown or not is debatable, as evidenced by how Payano flipped right off his back without using his arms to get up. I have never seen that before - especially in the twelfth round of a grueling championship fight! The final round was closed out in the only way it could be; lots of punches! Warren was landing solid clean blows while Payano was wading in and making an ugly fight of it when he could. The cards would come in a SD win for Payano, with two judges giving the champion the fight 113-111 and the final judge disagreeing, giving it to Warren 115-109. Overall the fight was closely fought. I do not have an official score but I could see an argument made for either guy really once you include all the point deductions.