By Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star)
MANILA, Philippines - Shrugging off the blood trickling down her face from a cut over the right eye, former two-time world superbantamweight queen Ana (Hurricane) Julaton pounded out a gutsy majority 10-round decision over Mexico’s Perla Hernandez to fuel hopes for another title shot in Progreso, Yucatan, last Friday night (Saturday morning, Manila).
Julaton, 33, dictated the tempo with a rapier-like left jab and tried to engage Hernandez by repeatedly coming forward but found few opportunities to unload her power shots with the Mexican dancing away and employing dirty tactics to avoid a toe-to-toe exchange. Hernandez resorted to head-butting whenever Julaton came close and in the sixth round, the Fil-Am was cut over the right eye. The wound seemed to fire up Julaton who swept the last four rounds as Hernandez kept a safe distance away, wildly swinging and missing as if shadow-boxing in the gym.
Hernandez showed too much respect for Julaton who was aggressive from the start. Julaton tried to cut the ring off and pin down her target but Hernandez wouldn’t stand still. She banged the Mexican’s body whenever the distance narrowed between them. As soon as they were within range of exchanging, Hernandez grabbed and referee David Silva broke them apart. Julaton let out a yell each time she jabbed and the war cry appeared to unsettle, if not frighten, Hernandez who had no intention to brawl with the Fil-Am.
Julaton went to the hospital for her cut to be checked by doctors after the bout. “The cut was upsetting but I’ve had worse and no matter what cuts or welts or injuries, I’ll fight my fight,” she said. “It was a very tough fight as Perla was definitely a world-class contender and her style was very awkward. I was hoping she would engage but I could tell she was being very tactical and was setting traps to bait me. She’s very experienced. I felt at the end of the fight, I won. But when they read the scorecards, I told myself ‘that’s boxing.’ We saw what happened with Manny (Pacquiao) and (Timothy) Bradley and recently, (Floyd) Mayweather and Canelo (Alvarez). Plus, I was fighting in her home country so to the best of my ability, I didn’t want to leave it in the judges’ hands. I felt I had a chance to knock her out in the middle of the fight but (trainer) Angelo (Reyes) was telling me that Perla was fighting dirty and to be careful with headbutts and her grabbing to try and bully me in the clinches.”
Two judges scored it for Julaton. J. Luis Lazeco saw it 97-93 and Hugo Esquivel, 98-94, for the Fil-Am. Jose Peniche had it a draw, 95-all. Reyes, who worked Julaton’s corner, described Peniche’s scorecard as crazy. “Ana won the fight clearly,” said Reyes. “Perla had eight weeks to train for this fight and was much bigger. She’s in the top 10 of the IBF featherweight ratings and has fought most of her career as a lightweight. Ana trained for this fight to get her strength back. She wasn’t bullied or outmuscled by a bigger opponent. The sparring at the Mayweather Gym (in Las Vegas) provided by the Money Team’s strength and conditioning coach Chris Ben-Tchavatse was tremendous and Roger Mayweather helping Ana by training her for three weeks was a huge part of this victory.”
Julaton’s Canadian promoter Allan Tremblay of Orion Sports Management said, “I’m delighted to see Ana return to form and deliver a crucial victory in a crossroads fight … this allows me to resume her advance in the world stage.”
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Reyes said from the onset, Hernandez wanted to put Julaton on the defensive by looking to butt. “Ana was continuously butted and the referee finally gave her a warning in the fifth round,” said Reyes. “The butting started in the first round and Ana had a huge welt on her forehead right from the beginning. In the third round, another butt caused a small cut near the left eye. In the sixth, Ana countered Perla with a right uppercut then Perla butted her. Ana was cut on the right eye lid, similar to what she suffered in the Lisa Brown fight. It was a very bad cut and we were lucky Marco Rivero, one of the best cutmen in the game today, was in our corner.”
Reyes said he couldn’t afford Julaton to throw caution to the wind because of Hernandez’ tactics. “It was a tactical chess match where Ana had to fight a near perfect defensive gameplan which she executed,” he continued. “I also felt Ana’s power punching was why Perla didn’t want to engage. Even with a bad cut and constant rough-housing by Perla, Ana fought even harder from the seventh to the 10th round. That was her Filipina heart showing. She closed it out in the last round, dazing Perla a couple of times, once with a left hook and twice with a right straight. In the middle rounds, Ana was able to stun Perla and the Ana of before would’ve gone in for the knockout but I told her because of Perla’s constant butting and noticeable size difference, to hold back. If you watch the replay, you’ll notice Perla waiting to trap Ana coming in to throw a counter right straight or uppercut.”
Hernandez did her version of the Mayweather shoulder-roll and even switch-hit in an attempt to confuse Julaton. None of her tricks worked as Julaton kept her composure and stood her ground to fend off Hernandez.
The win raised Julaton’s record to 13-4-1, with 2 KOs. She has now won three of her last four outings and is back in the hunt for a world championship. “I want to fight for the world title ASAP,” said Julaton. “I’m just relaxing now but I’ll talk with Allan right away about what he’d like for me to do next.”