By Jake Donovan
The biggest win in the career of Dierry Jean will now lead to his biggest payday and future opportunity. The unbeaten Haitian-Canadian scored a fourth round knockout of Cleotis 'Mookie' Pendarvis in their 140 lb. title elimination bout Friday evening in Miami, Oklahoma.
A pair of knockdowns produced the end of the fight, which came at 2:41 of round four.
Action was tentative in the start of the Showtime-televised main event. Neither fighter was particularly active, though Jean was generally in control for most of the affair. Pendarvis was stepping up in class for the fight, which was evident in each passing round.
Jean progressively stepped it up in each round until overwhelming Pendarvis in the fourth. A right hand floored the Californian midway through the round, a sequence that could've ended the fight on the spot. Jean wisely moved in for the kill, flooring Pendarvis again and then trapping him along the ropes until the referee was left with no choice but to stop the contest.
The win advances Jean's record to 25-0 (17KO) and also moves him up the ranks. The 31-year old is now the mandatory challenger to 140 lb. titlist Lamont Peterson, who faces fellow divisional beltholder Lucas Matthysse on May 18. The bout takes place at a catchweight of 141 lb, which means Peterson is guaranteed to leave the ring as champion no matter the outcome.
What will matter is the next move Peterson makes following the outcome of the Matthysse showdown in Atlantic City. Golden Boy Promotions - Peterson's promoter - is planning an unofficial 140 lb. tourney. At some point, a decision will have to be made whether to honor his mandatory or ditch the title.
That puts all eyes on May 18, and also puts Jean in the best position he's been in as a pro to date.
John Thompson announced his arrival with an emphatic statement, dropping Giovanny Rodriguez four times en route to a unanimous decision in their eight-round co-feature bout.
Scores were 78-70 (twice) and 78-71 in favor of Thompson, who scored two knockdowns in the fourth round and two more in the final round of the bout.
Rodriguez (8-1, 5KO) was game for the cause, but his chin and leaky defense far too inviting. The Puerto Rican southpaw has the talent to make it as a quality boxer, but Thompson exploited his current flaws to rack up the biggest win of his young career.
The first two knockdowns came in a fourth round that helped break the fight wide open for Thompson (12-0, 4KO), who despite his modest knockout percentage never stopped gunning for the stoppage. Rodriguez bravely climbed off the canvas each time, but his own return fire proved too futile to keep Thompson at bay.
A stoppage was nearly produced in the eighth round, when Thompson twice floored Rodriguez in the final minute of the bout. Rodriguez made it to the finish line, but was left with his first career loss as a result.
Thompson, trained by former two-division champ James 'Buddy' McGirt, appears to be one to watch. His own defense could use some work, but will be fun to watch while on the rise.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox