by Cliff Rold
23-year old 2008 Puerto Rican Lightweight Olympian Jose Pedraza (11-0, 7 KO) won a lopsided affair, scoring a stoppage in the eighth and final round, against 22-year old Tevin Farmer (7-4-1, 1 KO) on Friday night at the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Missouri. It was the main event on the night, supported by the continuing comeback of 34-year old former Middleweight Champion and 2000 U.S. Olympic Silver Medalist Jermain Taylor (31-4-1, 19 KO) of Little Rock, Arkansas. Taylor scored a knockout in his third outing since consecutive 2009 knockout losses to Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham.
Pedraza weighed in at 133 for the bout, Farmer at 133 ½, both well under the Lightweight limit of 135 lbs. The referee was Celestino Ruiz.
In the featured bout of the night, Farmer got off to a quick start, firing a southpaw right jab as Pedraza rolled behind a high shoulder. Waiting Farmer out, Pedraza picked spots for single right hands. Farmer fired to the body and again found sound defense, Pedraza picking off shots with his elbows. Ultimately though, it was Farmer doing more work in the first.
Again Farmer chose to throw in bunches to start the second and, early on, it was working. As the round wore on, Pedraza, switching between southpaw and orthodox stances, started to find the range he needed. Farmer slowed and Pedraza picked up, pressing his man and landing sharp shots between the bursts of his foe.
Pedraza let loose a flurry as Farmer went to the ropes in the first minute of the third, his fists finding more air than flesh. Farmer, his mouth open and looking for air, began to succumb to the pressure as they neared a minute to go. Pedraza stunned Farmer with a left and kept his hands moving. Farmer fired to survive, and tied up, but it could only stem the tide. Pedraza landed some more quick, clean blows but couldn’t drop Farmer before the bell sent both men to their stools.
With Farmer attempting to circle and pot shot, Pedraza came forward stalking more than punching. When Farmer slowed down at mid-ring, Pedraza let rip two blows to the body. A hard jab and uppercut landed for Pedraza as Farmer, again moved to the ropes, attempted to come off the strands. Farmer lost his mouthpiece, a welcome breather, and moved his hands enough to keep Pedraza honest while making the undefeated man miss down the stretch.
Farmer got off to an excellent start in the fifth, circling the ring and looping some landing shots at a Pedraza who was coming in face first. Farmer got away with a backhand and eventually slipped, taking his time to rise as fatigue again set in. Pedraza took advantage, ripping to the body while Farmer tried to slip and often held. Pedraza landed a big right hand late against an off balance Farmer but it wasn’t enough to score a knockdown.
It wasn’t the ‘Running Man,’ but Farmer was a jogging man more than once in the sixth, flinging jabs and literally jogging away from Pedraza twice in the first half of the sixth. He stood his ground and threw more in the back half of the frame and was doing so again in the seventh before losing his mouthpiece for the second time in the bout. Farmer was deducted a point not long after for holding and the fight was, scoring wise, seemingly settled.
In the eighth, a ruled accidental head butt seemed to cause Farmer to go to the floor, but Farmer complained he’d hurt his hand. Pedraza jumped on him and Ruiz stepped in with the hook at :47 seconds of round eight.
Pedraza’s win was the final knockout of the night, but not the most impressive.
Taylor, continuing to maintain himself near Middleweight at 161 ½, dropped and rocked badly in his last fight against Caleb Truax, was matched a bit softer on Friday. 36-year old Raul Munoz (22-16-1, 16 KO), 162, of Leon, Baja California, Mexico, was out of his league and blitzed early. Taylor scored two knockdowns in the first and a final rifling finisher of a right hand in the second to score a devastating knockout at 1:05 of round two. The referee was Mike England. Munoz suffers his third straight knockout loss and fourth in his last six starts.
In a battle of unbeatens, 25-year old Middleweight Lamar Russ (11-0, 7 KO), 161 ½, of Hartford, Connecticut, wasted little time keeping his “0.” An uppercut hurt and a right hand dropped 28-year old Jonathan Cepeda (12-1, 11 KO), 161 ½, of the Dominican Republic, and referee Mike England called the bout to a standing Cepeda’s protests at 1:45 of the first round.
The card was televised in the U.S on Showtime as part of its “ShoBox” series, promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Rumble Time Promotions.
Cliff Rold is a Managing Editor at BoxingScene, and a member of the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]