By Cliff Rold
The Kenny Rogers classic “The Gambler” reminds not to count money while sitting at the table. Boxing followers can use those lines to remind not to tally Fight of the Year votes until all the fights are in. On the 31st, at Jr. Lightweight, Takashi Uchiyama and Jorge Solis will do battle for the WBA belt.
It probably won’t be the Fight of the Year.
Just in case it could be, the votes should be held another week. Why?
Kompayak Porpramook KO10 Adrian Hernandez is why.
Tucked away in Thailand, this Jr. Flyweight title contest flew under the radar until it was over. Once fans got a look, they knew two things. The first is that it probably wasn’t 2011’s best fight. The second is that it wasn’t far off the lead.
It was worthy of being in the debate. The calendar runs until January 1st. The rush to name honors sometimes begins before the date. It shouldn’t. There is no rush. A great fight can happen on any one of 365 days.
Porpramook-Hernandez was a great fight.
As reported by BoxingScene’s Jake Donovan: http://www.boxingscene.com/k-porpramook-stops-hernandez-war-wins-title--47715
The main event was non-stop action and a surefire Fight of the Year contender, keeping the intimate but rabid crowd in suspense throughout. Neither fighter gave an inch, with most of the action taking place in center ring and rarely at more than phone booth’s distance.
Porpramook was surgical with his right hand early on, as Hernandez ate them as if defense was strictly a rumor. The visiting Mexican was backed up against the ropes as his Thai challenger went on the attack, rallying the hometown crowd in the process.
The middle rounds saw Hernandez stage a huge comeback, refusing to fly halfway around the world just to hand over his title without a fight. The action continued to flow and excite the crowd, even as it was Hernandez who went on the attack, scoring with power shots upstairs. Porpramook was still connecting with frightening regularity, though now at the point where he was taking two to land one.
The change in momentum was not lost on the judges, as scoring through four rounds had the bout even at 38-38 on two cards, and Porpramook ahead 39-37 on the third card.
As Hernandez opened up his attack upstairs. Porpramook began to target the body. The tactic worked spectacularly, as it created the opportunity to score with right hands upstairs anytime the defending titlist adjusted his guard in attempting to protect his midsection.
Hernandez changed things up in the sixth, utilizing a jab to create some sort of distance between the two. Porpramook continued to stalk his foe, but struggled to slip the stick as Hernandez was able to set up combinations and implement an effective right uppercut into his attack.
Despite the Mexican’s best efforts to box, the fight eventually resumed to its brawling pace, as both fighters swung away in a potential Round of the Year contender.
The momentum spilled over into the seventh, with the two meeting at center ring and trading away. For the first time in the fight, Porpramook was forced to back up as Hernandez scored with long right hands and left hooks. The bout appeared to swing in Hernandez’ favor, only for the challenger to come roaring back in his version of a 30-second drill.
While giving away the round, the tactic worked as Porpramook enjoyed a huge eighth round that had the titlist in trouble for the first time in the fight. Non-stop power shots pulled the stocky Thai back within even on two scorecards through eight rounds and maintaining a two-point lead on the lone dissenting card.
The judges’ tallies were nearly rendered irrelevant in a free-swinging ninth round that saw both fighters wobbled and the crowd barely given a second to breath. Porpramook was swinging for the fences, connecting often enough to have Hernandez stagger into the ropes. Just when it appeared the Mexican boxer was ready to wilt, momentum swung back in his favor in a big way to end the round.
The sequence proved to be Hernandez’ last hurrah. The champion remained game throughout the tenth, but ultimately found himself outgunned. Porpramook sensed that the end was near and went for broke. A wicked body attack paved the way for a series of right hands which crashed down on Hernandez’ chin and temple, with enough power shots sending him crashing to the canvas.
A count was administered but waved off midway through when Hernandez attempted to rise but instead doubled over and pitched forward headfirst back into the canvas.
It was a spectacular end to a spectacular war. Porpramook’s vicious inside attack and overhand right overcame the rallies of Hernandez led with a stunning left uppercut. Hopefully, they’ll do it again with all of the attention they deserve after this classic.
For now, they give us pause in naming the Fight of the Year. There’s time enough for counting when the fighting is done.
Report Card Picks 2011: 42-18
Flyweight: Pongsaklek Wonjongkam defended against as pointless and unworthy a foe as boxing has seen in recent title challenges. Hirofumi Mikai was 5-1 with no knockouts, no significant wins, and no business in the ring with the Thai champion. Wonjongkam’s career has many quality wins, but fights like Mikai are why some still question him. The technical draw happened in less than a minute on a headbutt. Wonjongkam should be taking some defining fights to end a great career. This sort of thing is beneath him.
Jr. Flyweight: Porpramook goes from nowhere to a strong entrance in the ratings. He has not lost since a stoppage against rough Hussein Hussein in 2006. Hernandez slips only a bit.
The full ratings update is a click away.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]