By Jake Donovan
Promoter Felix 'Tuto' Zabala told anyone who would listen that Marvin Mabait was in for a tough test against veteran Alejandro 'Payasito' Hernandez in their Telemundo-televised main event.
Every once in a while, a promoter actually tells the truth. Mabait learned that lesson the hard way, as Hernandez racked up a major upset with a 5th round stoppage Friday evening in Mexico City.
Mabait was being groomed for a shot at a bantamweight title, but his handlers sought to keep him active rather than grow stale in pursuit of alphabet glory. The Filipino was a smash hit in his Boxeo Telemundo debut last October, knocking out Johnny Garcia in one round in last year's season finale.
Friday marked his second straight trip to Mexico City, this time against a fighter known for his durability although not a traditional spoiler. Hernandez has had his moments in his career, but loses more often than not when stepping up in competition. However, the Mexico City native is known for going rounds.
In this particular night, he didn't need to. Instead, he gave his hometown fans a thrill and 2014 a viable contender for Upset of the Year.
The fight was hardly a rout, as Mabait was boxing well early on. It was clear that a second consecutive early knockout was not on the menu, forcing the visiting contender to grab his lunch pail and put in some work.
That type of fight plays perfectly into Hernandez' potent hands. The fight came to an end in an instant, when the local veteran scored with a left hand that had Mabait out on his feet. The fight should have been stopped upon impact, but the referee was slow to react, allowing Mabait to eat another five unanswered punches before the bout was mercifully stopped.
Forever a gatekeeper, Hernandez can now proudly wear the spoiler role. The 27-year old picks up by far the biggest win of his career, improving to 27-10-2 (14KO) with his second straight win.
As for Mabait, a bantamweight title shot once seemingly within reach is now highly unlikley for the near future. A three-fight win streak comes to a close as his record dips to 19-2-2 (13KO). Both of Mabait's losses have come by knockout, previously suffering a 3rd round stoppage at the hands of countryman and former Top 10 contender Marco Demecillo.
The bout headlined the third installment of the Spring season of Boxeo Telemundo. The two preceding episodes - March 14 and 21 - aired live from Florida. Friday's edition marked the series' first show from Mexico in 2014, returning south of the border next Friday to close out the four-fight season before returning on air in June.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox