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Leal Earns Split Nod In Shocker Over Marroquin

By Jake Donovan

Yet another upset is added to a month full of shocking results.

The latest came on Saturday evening in Top Rank Live’s televised main event, as Francisco Leal scored a hard-fought split decision over previously unbeaten Robert Marroquin at the Winstar Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

Scores were 98-92 and 96-94 Leal, and 97-93 Marroquin in a bout that aired live on Fox Deportes.

The crowd was hyped for the main event long before the opening bell, with chants of “MARROQUIN!” filling the venue during the pre-fight introductions. The Dallas native gave them plenty of reason to cheer once the bout was underway, though the night also featured  plenty of nervous energy – and for good reason as it would turn out.

Leal did his best to plead his case that he was more than just an opponent for this fight, but it would take a round or so before he was able to establish his presence. Marroquin came out ahead in every exchange, at one point landing a six-punch combo, every shot placed with precision even though Leal maintained a tight defense and never took his eye off of the ball.

Marroquin continued to mix up his attack in the second, landing to the head and midsection of Leal, who was quickly running out of answers in regards to handling the incoming. More of the same threatened to take place in the third, only for Leal to come on late in the round and begin to press the action.

That’s when things grew interesting.

The middle rounds were hard fought both ways, with Marroquin suddenly on the defensive far more often than most – perhaps including the fighter himself – anticipated being the case. Leal dug down and began working the body, which also denied Marroquin a clear offensive target on the occasions he was able to return fire.

Leal enjoyed his biggest round of the fight in the seventh, a round that saw both fighters attempting to catch a second wind. Suddenly, it was Marroquin running out of answers as the incoming was becoming too much to handle. A brief momentum shift occurred in the eighth, but Leal refused to back down, which made for an exciting two-way exchange.

Both fighters bit down and went toe-to-toe in the ninth. Leal threatened to surge ahead, only for Marroquin to remember to target the body. Doing so set up yet another momentum shift, as Marroquin was able to transition into a four-punch combo upstairs that had Leal backing up for the first time since the early rounds.

With the fight seemingly on the table, the action was fast and furious in the tenth. Marroquin regained control at the ring time, creating just enough distance to score with his long right and simultaneously remain just outside of Leal’s effective punching range.

That dynamic changed midway through the round when Leal was able to make it an inside fight. However, it wasn’t a full momentum switch as Marroquin scored with a combination to the body before bringing the action to center ring. The sequence proved to be Leal’s last hurrah, though he kept throwing until the final bell.

In the end, the underdog’s grit and determination was enough to convince two of the three judges that he was the better man that evening. Scores were all over the place, though rightfully so. It’s rare to say that of a bout in which two judges wind up five rounds apart in a ten-round bout, but there was enough two way action in several of the rounds to where the major difference of opinion was expected.

Leal snaps a two-fight winless streak in scoring by far the most significant win of his career as he advances to 15-5-3 (9KO).

For Marroquin, it’s the first time in his young career in which he tastes defeat. The 21-year young prospect falls to 19-1 (14KO) in what is already his third fight of the year.

The televise co-feature supplied plenty of thrilling moments for all of the right and wrong reasons. When all was said and done, Casey Ramos remained unbeaten with a unanimous decision over John Jackson in their eight-round lightweight bout.

Getting to that point was another matter altogether.

Drama surfaced as early as the opening round, when Ramos first flirted with disaster. Jackson was rocked with a punch on the inside and immediately clinched, prompting the referee to order the two to separate. Ramos either didn’t hear the command or was caught up in the action and landed a follow-up right on the break, flooring Jackson and causing a three-minute delay in the action.

Ramos earned warning in the second round as well before everything settled down and the two combatants simply fought. Plenty of action followed, though Ramos initiated most of the exchanges while Jackson struggled when unable to keep it a boxing match.

Body shots began to break down Jackson in the fourth round, although Ramos was warned for a low blow. For all of the body work, it was a right hand upstairs that produced the bout’s first knockdown. Jackson was nailed flush on the chin and fell into the ropes, only for the rope to literally separate as he sank to a knee.

An untimely Fox Deportes commercial break interrupted the count, though the fact that there was a fifth round suggested he sold the ref on being able to continue. The ring malfunction produced yet another delay in the bout, giving Jackson even more time to recover in addition to the one minute rest in between rounds.

Ten minutes later, boxing resumed, though much of the emotion had been sucked out of the venue by that point. Ramos did his best to reignite the crowd, targeting the body while Jackson went on the defensive.

Things turned around a bit once Jackson literally turned around, flipping to southpaw and enjoying slightly more success than in rounds past. Ramos was still controlling the action, though the switch to the other side of the plate helped minimize the damage.

It was enough for Jackson to go the eight-round distance, but not even close to making up the difference on the scorecards, all three of which read 79-70 in favor of Ramos, now 13-0 (4KO).

Jackson is now winless in his last three contests as he falls to 15-3-1 (13KO).

In a televised swing bout, moonlighting NFL safety Tommy “The Big” Zbikowski won his third bout in a span of six weeks, scoring a first round knockout over Oklahoma City punching bag Blake Warner.

The official time was 2:20 of the opening round. Zbikowski (4-0, 3KO) rocked Warner early with right hands, but seemed to back off for the sake of the bout lasting that much longer.

Warner (1-3, 1KO) enjoyed a brief moment of success before Zbikowski went back to work. A right uppercut that seemed to begin in Baltimore caught Warner flush, causing to flop to the canvas in a heap, prompting referee Vic Drakulich to immediately wave off the contest.

Zbikowski remains busy while awaiting news of whether or not there will be an NFL season this year due to the pending lockout. The Illinois-based two sport talent returns to the ring in May and then again in June on the undercard of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr’s middleweight title bid against Sebastian Zbik (which, contrary to underground belief, is not short for Zbikowski).

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Carlos Alberto on 04-24-2011

This really had me upset last night. I was/ am very high on Marroquin and I'm dissappointed he lost. I'm very surprised the southpaw stance gave him so much trouble, given that he has about 250-300 amateur bouts (including a…

Comment by Corelone on 04-24-2011

In the first fight, I didn't hear the ref say "break" before Jackson stepped back with his head in the air and got knocked out. The second time, I did hear the ref say "break", but that too, was a…

Comment by Kingdelboxeo on 04-24-2011

My boy marroquin lost but it's ok We will have to come back harder, faster, stronger and smarter next time. Can't wait to go see you fight again Great fight by these 2 Leal and Marroquin Congrats to Leal

Comment by JakeNDaBox on 04-24-2011

^^^ agree on several of the rounds being close, which is why I take no issue with two of the judges being so far apart on their cards. I thought both were a bit extreme, but 6-4 either way would've…

Comment by Tomasio on 04-24-2011

[B][I]The Marroquin/Leal was a very good fight! It was a close fight & some rounds were hard to score..Leal took Marroquin's body shots(which were a lot) very well & Leal busted Marroquin's face up..In all the years I've been watching,…

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