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Shobox Report: Franco Squeaks Past Miranda In 10 Rd War

By Cliff Rold

Luis Franco (9-0, 5 KO) of Miami, Florida, was tested for the first time as a professional Featherweight, enduring to snare a thrilling ten-round split decision over 28-year old Leonilo Miranda (32-3, 30 KO) of Sonora, Mexico at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, California.  

Both men weighed in at the Featherweight limit of 126 lbs.    

The 29-year old Franco, a member of the 2004 Cuban Olympic boxing team, got a taste of real professional heat in the very first round. Miranda responded to the contact flurries of Franco with a short southpaw left on the inside, then another, to force his undefeated foe to cover up all before halfway through the round.

On his bicycle, Franco boxed safely only to take another left and fall to the canvas near the ropes.  Referee Marcos Rosales immediately ruled a slip and a short lead left from the orthodox Franco caught a charging Miranda, the Mexican forced to take a step back.

Another left pushed Franco back at the start of the second but Franco showed no reluctance to engage, stepping back into the fray, leading and countering Miranda beautifully for most of three minutes.  The speed and fluidity of Franco gave him and edge in the third and fourth, Miranda taking some sharp shots but managing his own occasional thuds when Franco got close.

In the fifth, Miranda began the round with a blistering assault on the body and absorbed some efficient combinations from Franco to hurt the less experienced professional with clean, voluminous power shots in the final minute.  Franco stood his ground and fired back, the crowd enthralled in what might be the best round contested so far in this young 2011.  

Matters slowed in the sixth, Franco moving a bit more, and in the seventh Franco played off the back foot and countered the aggressive Miranda silly down the stretch to steal back some of the momentum of the contest.  He kept it into round eight, the class of Franco on display until an assault from Miranda in the middle of the round ripped Franco’s head upwards.  Again Franco held his ground, his chin and courage being tested and passing.  Blood streaming from his nose, Franco kept his distance until the closing seconds of the eighth.

Both men took turns firing, landing, and absorbing leather in the ninth round, their weary arms churning with full spirit behind them.  Miranda’s punches seemed harder but Franco was landing more, and cleaner, and staying in the pocket.  It appeared anyone’s ball game as the men went to the corner for an earned sixty seconds before the tenth and final round.

Holding his guard in close and tight, Franco muffled some bombs from Miranda and punched between assaults, tagging Miranda repeatedly in the first two minutes.  Miranda slipped in some shots to send a tremble through Franco but, as he had all night, Franco bit down and fired back to close the round, and fight, in style.

The closing scores were fair and it was a shame either man had to lose.  96-94 for Miranda was overruled at 97-93 and 96-94 for Franco.

In the televised opener, 27-year old undefeated, emerging Nigerian Cruiserweight contender
Lateef Kayode (16-0, 14 KO), 199, of Hollywood, California, stayed that way and went the distance for only the second time, posting a unanimous decision over game 34-year old Nick Iannuzzi (16-2, 9 KO), 198, of Tampa, Florida.  The inartistic brawl was fun throughout but marred at the end by intellectually insulting scorecards.

Iannuzzi was slow to warm to the task, his hands and feet moving in the first round but the underdog looking unsteady whenever Kayode established contact.  The problem for Kayode was one of not letting his hands go enough.  By the third round, the plan to stalk Iannuzzi and look for the bomb first was resulting in a loose and increasingly confident Iannuzzi letting go with eye-catching flurries.  

Warned by his trainer, Freddie Roach, that he had lost the third, Kayode struggled to get back on track in round four.  Some sparing lead rights and an inconsistent jab were contrasted with a more improvisational, if not particularly polished, willingness to let go in combination from Iannuzzi.  Right hand counters, and long range body shots, thrown at the right time, frustrated Kayode.

The pressure of Kayode, and some thudding rights, gave the Nigerian his best round since the first.  Iannuzzi complained to referee Raul Caiz Jr. about fouls in the round but showed good offensive response to Kayode during late round exchanges.  The same was true in the sixth though it was Kayode with a best blow of the frame, a short left hook near the minute mark rocking Iannuzzi near the ropes.

A sloppy seventh round also managed to be entertaining. Kayode was rocked into the ropes over the second half only to wave Iannuzzi forward for more.  Bounding forward, Kayode, turned the tide through the final minute, a short right to the temple setting off a sustained, if not cleanly landing, attack.  

Round eight was tough to score, Kayode clearly landing the harder shots over more of the round but Iannuzzi putting together an excellent late rally and jarring Kayode into the ropes with another left hook.

Another left hook from Iannuzzi had Kayode off balance early in the ninth, Kayode replying with a flurry of shots.  Kayode maintained a steady work rate from there and into the tenth.  Iannuzzi, who was outworked until the last thirty seconds of the final round, was surprisingly deducted a point for a blow thrown after the bell to end the fight.  It appeared Kayode had landed the first late shot and similar rough stuff had occurred throughout the fight.

The deduction was irrelevant as outrageous scores of 98-91 and 97-92 were handed to Kayode along with a perfectly reasonable 95-94.  The booing of the fans spoke volumes about the ineptitude of the scoring.  Kayode came in to the contest rated in the top ten by three of the four most prominent boxing sanctioning bodies and should at least hold serve on those slots.

The card was televised in the U.S. on Showtime as part of its “ShoBox” series, promoted by Gary Shaw Productions.

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by SluggerFan on 02-05-2011

[QUOTE=goblin213;10060550]I thought that J M Marquez look-alike won the fight. And that African dude lost.[/QUOTE] Actually, Miranda reminded me of a poor-man's Barrera, with the way he fought and dug his shots to the body. I also thought the slip…

Comment by theplayerpimp on 02-05-2011

[QUOTE=KILLA RIGHT;10060546]I had it a draw...Cuban+mexican= good fight[/QUOTE] Its mexican vs any one= good fight. And naw i thought that miranda looked more like miguel vazquez the light weight tittle holder.

Comment by Rocky Rode on 02-05-2011

I think Kayode has potential but he needs to work on not leaning so damn much when he goes in to punch. He has a lot of pop in his punches and I think if he continues to work with…

Comment by goblin213 on 02-05-2011

I thought that J M Marquez look-alike won the fight. And that African dude lost.

Comment by KILLA RIGHT on 02-05-2011

I had it a draw...Cuban+mexican= good fight

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