By Jake Donovan
Less than three months after falling just short against Zab Judah, junior welterweight contender Lucas Matthysse had no intentions of leaving anything to chance in his first fight back.
This much was true from the opening bell, as the free swinging Argentinean scored nine knockdowns en route to an eighth round stoppage of former titlist DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley in their Telefutura-televised main event Friday evening in Mendoza, Argentina.
Both fighters came in below the junior welterweight limit; Matthysse weighed 139 ˝ lb, while Corley was slightly lighter at 139 lb.
The table was set early on, when Matthysse scored with a right hand that wobbled Corley midway through the opening round. The shot didn’t deter Corley from coming forward and working behind his jab, but was enough to define the power edge overwhelmingly in his opponent’s favor.
From that point onward, the game was clear; Matthysse was going to bully Corley until forcing the American to wilt. It wasn’t an easy process as Corley refused to go away quietly. But that only worked in Matthysse’s favor, as the crowd favorite continued to tee off at will in rounds two and three.
Matthysse’s vicious body attack began to take shape in the fourth, unloading downstairs as Corley’s only means of defense was to creep inside and clinch his way out of trouble. The strategy didn’t last very long; the American was in trouble early in the fifth before hitting the deck courtesy of a left hook downstairs midway through the round.
Another left hook to the body floored him in the closing seconds of the fifth, and Corley’s night would only get worse. Matthysse mixed up his attack in the sixth, still punishing the body but also scoring with straight right hands upstairs. A little bit of both led to the third knockdown of the night, a straight right, left hook combination forcing Corley to a knee.
Three more knockdowns came in the seventh. A series of right hands trapped Corley in a corner before collapsing in a heap seconds into the round. The referee briefly considered stopping the fight, but instead continued his count after Corley furiously shook his head to discourage him from such thoughts.
Another left hook forced him to a knee later in the round, though for every time he went down he wound bounce back up, if only to absorb more punishment. It appeared that he would make it out of the round without any more drama, only for a perfectly placed left hook to his midsection resulting in the bout’s sixth knockdown.
A similar shot floored Corley a minute into the eighth round, though he briefly tried to sell the referee on the possibility of a low blow landing. His efforts were for naught, as he was forced to rise up and absorb more punishment.
Two more knockdowns followed, with the fight-ending sequence coming in the form of a series of right hands that forced Corley to the ropes and eventually to the canvas. The final knockdown of the night was the only one that wasn’t followed with an eight count, as the referee finally waved off the slaughter, though much to the disappointment of Corley who for whatever reason wanted to fight on.
No time was announced, though the TV clock suggested two minutes of the eighth round.
Matthysse improves to 28-1 (26KO) with the win; Corley loses his third straight – including twice in Argentina in the past five months – as he falls to 37-16-1 (22KO).
The win sends a reminder to the top junior welterweights that Matthysse is very much a live threat. It was a lesson learned by Judah in their title eliminator last November, as the Brooklynite watched an early lead evaporate after suffering a 10th round knockdown and falling apart down the stretch.
Even though the rally came a tad too late and resulted in Matthysse’s first career loss, his stock managed to skyrocket, not unlike his countryman Marcos Maidana one month later in his Fight of the Year candidate with Amir Khan.
While Judah will now challenge for a vacant alphabet belt in the next few weeks, Matthysse will keep an eye on that result as well as the outcome of next week’s unification bout between unbeaten American titlists Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander.
UPSET ALERT: TAPIA SHOCKS BARBOZA IN FOUR
The night began with the first notable entry for 2011 Upset of the Year, as previously unbeaten super featherweight Pablo Barboza suffered a shocking fourth-round knockout loss at the hands of unheralded journeyman Claudio Tapia.
It was clear from the outset that Barboza was off of his game. The southpaw struggled to find his rhythm, while Tapia clearly came with the intention of scoring the biggest win of his career.
Barboza’s world began to crumble in the third round, when he was docked two points for excessive low blows. With the bout scheduled for only six rounds, Barboza was in danger of losing on the scorecards if he didn’t get disqualified before the fight reached that point.
Tapia never allowed either moment to occur, instead seizing control in the fourth. A spirited exchange suggested that Barboza had overcome his frustrations, only for a right and a left to crash on his chin, sending him sprawling to the canvas.
He beat the count, but never quite fully recovered. Tapia sensed this and moved in for the kill. A right hand froze Barboza, allowing Tapia to score with a left hook and an overhand right to the temple, the latter putting Barboza down for the count.
No official time was announced, but was hardly necessary. All Tapia needs to know is that he picked up by far the biggest win of his career, winning his third straight as he improves to 19-10-4 (6KO).
Barboza suffers his first loss in the pro ranks, falling to 13-1 (7KO).
The show was presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Aranobox.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com