By Luis Sandoval
Rising prospect Hugo Centeno Jr (18-0, 9KOs) kept his perfect record intact as he easily defeated Keandrae Leatherwood (12-2-1, 8KOs) via Unanimous decision with scores of 100-89, 99-91 and 100-90. The fight took place at the Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino in Indio, CA.
If Leatherwood was supposed to be a test for Centeno, he passed it with flying colors as he easily controlled the fight with his jab and activity. Leatherwood never found an answer to slow down his lanky opponent who was the aggressor the entire night and met little to no resistance.
Centeno started things quickly as he threw a lead left hook almost immediately after the opening bell as you could tell he was going to bring the fight to his opponent. His weapon of choice the whole night was a stiff jab that constantly landed and kept an apprehensive Leatherwood backing up.
Centeno’s jab wasn’t just a range finder or feel out jab; it was strong and made you think twice about coming inside. Leatherwood would oblige as he stayed on the outside trying to box against the taller and rangier Centeno which proved to be disastrous. Centeno’s left glove repeatedly connected on Leatherwood’s face as he even had success connecting with lead left hooks.
By round 4 the writing was on the wall and unless Leatherwood made adjustments or began letting his hands go, he was going to have a long night. Leatherwood was advertised to have fast hands but you wouldn’t know it if you weren’t old as his lack of offense prevented his speed from ever being displayed.
Even when Leatherwood tried to fight with more urgency, it resulted in only loading up on one shot that could never find a home. The fight got a big sloppy as the rounds went by as constant clinching prevented any sustained action from surviving. Referee Pat Russell intervened after both fighters hit the mat after a clinch and he told both fighters he wanted to see more fighting and less wrestling.
Heading into the second half of the fight, Centeno was still continuously pressing and throwing combinations and while not all of them were landing cleanly, it was better than anything Leatherwood was offering. By Round 8, the fight had fallen into a pattern and there was more holding and clinching than there was action.
After 10 lackluster rounds it was clear Centeno was the victor as he recorded his 18th professional win in front of a supportive crowd.
While Centeno won the fight, you couldn’t help but feel it wasn’t exactly a dominate victory. Leatherwood could’ve offered much more and tested “The Boss” but you also have to credit Centeno’s aggression as to why Leatherwood was deemed so ineffective.
Centeno is under the Golden Boy Promtions banner and is managed by Joel De La Hoya (brother to Oscar De La Hoya). It’s obvious he’s well rounded but we’ll have to wait to see him pushed to his limits as tonight he had an easy night at the office.
You can follow Luis Sandoval on Twitter @Truewest007. You can also tune in to The Boxing Lab, Boxingscene’s official audio show every Tuesday from 6-8PM PST with hosts Ernest Gabion, Luis Sandoval, and Ryan Burton.