By Jake Donovan
An eight-fight undercard preceded the HBO-televised main event between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Peter Manfredo, which airs live from the Reliant Arena in Houston, Texas.
In the evening’s chief support, super welterweight prospect Jose Pinzon scored a unanimous decision over Larry Smith in a tedious eight round affair. Scores were 79-72 across the board in a bout that was repeatedly met with boos. Pinzon (21-2-1, 13KO) scored a third round knockdown of Smith (10-8, 7KO), perhaps the lone bright spot in an otherwise forgettable fight.
Unbeaten prospect Wale “Lucky Boy” Omotoso showed skill, heart and endurance in outlasting Lanardo Tyner in an entertaining eight-round affair. Scores were 79-73 (twice) and 78-74 for Nigerian-born Omotoso (20-0, 17KO), who wins in his second straight stateside appearance. Tyner falls to 25-5-2 (15KO) but his antics made for a fun fight that will earn him returning assignments.
Alex Saucedo couldn’t have asked for a more appropriate setting for his pro debut. The former amateur standout was a huge hit with the crowd, who didn’t seem to mind only getting a brief glimpse as he flattened Curtis Sheppard at 2:28 of the first round. Saucedo (1-0, 1KO) was in control throughout the brief affair, ending with Sheppard (0-2) flattened from a chin shot and stopped as he arose to rubber legs.
Lightweight prospect Mickey Bey was fortunate to escape with undefeated record still intact, in taking a highly disputed unanimous decision over Hector Velazquez. Scores were 76-75, 77-74 and an investigation-worthy 78-73.
Bey (18-0-1, 9KO) was floored in the second round by a left hook and spent most of the fight battling his way back, but was given the benefit of the doubt on the cards. An unspecified injury took place at some point in the bout, as he was spotted at ringside afterward with his right hand wrapped in a soft cast and in a sling.He was also given a chorus of boos in the end, while Velazquez (51-17-3-1NC, 35KO) was given a hero’s salute upon leaving the ring.
Local featherweight prospect Ivan Otero (7-0-1, 1K) was forced to work in order to preserve his unbeaten record, as he boxed his way to a four-round unanimous decision over Gino Escamilla (5-11-1, 2KO). Scores were 38-38 even and 40-36 and 39-37 for Otero in a bout that drew genuine cheers from the raucous fans on hand for the preliminary action.
Former welterweight titlist Joshua Clottey returned to the ring for the first time in 20 months, scoring a second round knockout of Dallas-based journeyman Calvin Green. A left hook ended matters at 1:56 of the second round.
All it took on this night was one punch to get the job done. A left hook floored Green, where he rolled around before getting up on unsteady legs, prompting the immediate stoppage.
The win is Clottey’s first in more than three years as he improves to 36-4 (21KO), as he has been forced to an extended layoff plagued by frustration and the politics of the sport. Green falls to 10-8 (7KO) in dropping his third straight.
Local featherweight prospect Luis Zarazua improved to 2-0 when he defeated Ricardo Avilipa (1-6) via unanimous decision. The scores were 40-36 on all three scorecards. Zarzua used his speed and punching power to cruise to the easy victory. (Ryan Burton at ringside)
Light heavyweight prospect Marcus Johnson (21-1) bounced back from his April upset loss to Dyah Davis when he defeated William Bailey (10-13) via six round unanimous decision. The scores were 60-53 twice and 60-52. Johnson simply overpowered his out of shape foe who could do little more than try to use his weight to push around his much more talented opponent. (Ryan Burton at ringside)
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]