ESPN Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez vs Roamer Alexis Angulo, Alex Saucedo vs Lenny Zappavigna, and Robson Conceicao vs Gavino Guaman
By Kid Hersh
Top Rank on ESPN from Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma.
First up was Alex Saucedo (27-0, 17KO's) vs Lenny Zappavigna (37-3, 27KO's). In the first round, both men were standing in range and firing off their best shots. They were sitting down on their punches, really looking to do damage as the shots thudded home. You could see that Saucedo is the younger, faster, more athletic man but Lenny Z is always dangerous. Zappa was a punching bag in the second round, showing his toughness and still gutting it out as he always does but his massive scar tissue opening up already in the fight. He's a bleeder alright. In the third round, Z went down from a well-timed right hand when he was landing power punches on Saucedo and looking to change the course of the fight. He got up and fought very valiantly, landing some great shots of his own while still trying to win the fight as he nearly made it a contender for round of the year, ending it strong after being on the verge of a stoppage. Round four was absolutely amazing and made the fight a contender for fight of the year as Lenny Z came out and threw everything he had at Saucedo, hurting him numerous times and nearly knocking him down if not out on his feet. He made it through the round but it was insanely bloody - both men bleeding profusely and nearly punched out like rock 'em sock 'em robots. This continued through the fifth round with the fight getting bloodier and bloodier and more gruesome, with Mark Kriegel saying midway through the seventh round "This may or may not be fight of the year, but unless Alex Sacuedo gets terribly overconfident this is an extraordinary coming of age for him." and the fight was stopped only a minute later, with Zappavigna's corner throwing in the towel.
Robson Conceicao (7-0, 4KO's) vs Gavino Guaman (5-2, 1KO). Conceicao was obviously much larger and faster and more skilled than his opponent, as he was clearly in control from the start of the fight and knocked him down at the end of the first round. Conceicao scored two more knockdowns at the very end of the second round, then scored his fourth knockdown of the fight at the very start of the third round to end the fight. We couldn't see much with Conceicao but I do agree with the announcing crew that he certainly looks better from the last time I saw him - which was a few fights ago and he still looked like an amateur to my eyes.
Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez (3-0, 25KO's) vs Roamer Alexis Angulo (23-0, 20KO's). In the first round, Angulo did not look as overmatched as most people thought he may be in this fight. He was catching Zurdo with right hands behind a feint and having some success in there. Zurdo was being patient and careful with the Colombians power. Zurdo still couldn't quite get into a rhythm in the second round, although he was more consistently effective than Angulo, who was bursting out with power shots very infrequently - although they were landing at times. In the third round, Angulo was landing power punches and hurt Zurdo midway through the round with a right hand that backed him up. He smiled and I think fooled Angulo into thinking he was not "that" hurt, but regardless he did shake it off in about ten seconds or so. He got caught with another big right hand from Angulo at the end of the third round as well that also stopped Zurdo straight in his tracks. Angulo, I feel, should be following up on these big shots though - he is simply laying back and landing them occasionally. Although it is working, he could be forcing them to land more frequently I believe. Zurdo started to take over the fight and was boxing beautifully in the sixth round, circling Angulo and getting his faster, longer punches off first. Angulo was still very dangerous though as evidenced in the seventh round where he caught Ramirez with another right hand that momentarily buckled his legs. In the coming rounds and throughout the rest of the fight Angulo was looking for one big punch that he just couldn't land and Zurdo was boxing his man fairly well. Not as great as earlier on in certain rounds, but he was doing what he needed to do in order to win and not get into a war. Although, to Zurdo's credit, Angulo simply was not throwing many punches at all and I believe he could have either unloaded more at times or simply made it happen by setting up his big right hand.