by Cliff Rold
The 2015 Boxcino quarterfinals at 154 lbs. are in the books.
Two undefeated fighters lost their 0’s. The sole remaining undefeated fighter looks like he could make this his show by the time it’s over. The biggest obstacle to that emerged in a familiar face from a year ago.
Here are some quick thoughts on the night.
Stanyslav Skorokhod (9-0, 7 KO) TKO4 Michael Moore (13-1, 6 KO): If the goal of the tournament is to find a star, the evening got off to a good start. Knockdowns in rounds three and four, both off knockdowns, moved the Ukrainian Skorokhod on to the semi-finals. Skorokhod may have let Moore off the hook in round three, head hunting where he could have dug to the ribs. Only 25, Skorokhod has time to pick those things up. The victor showed some speed, polish, aggression, and power the reflected his record.
Moore deserves some credit for guts. He appeared smaller in the ring, was technically less refined, and didn’t have any of the power coming back at him. That didn’t keep him on the floor. It didn’t leave him without protest when referee Michael Ortega stopped the action in the fourth. Sometimes, the other guy is just too much better. That was the case in this Jr. Middleweight tournament opener.
John Thompson (15-1, 5 KO) UD6 Ricardo Pinell (10-2-1, 6 KO): Beware the late sub. When Cleotis “Didn’t Come Close to Making Weight” Pendarvis was forced from the field on Thursday, Thompson got a big opportunity. He made the most of it. Boxing well throughout, he scored the relatively easy shutout to rebound from his first career defeat. One year ago, Thompson was stopped in round two by a to-this-day undefeated Frank Galarza.
Pinell might have had better luck with Pendarvis. He didn’t get the chance. Based on what was seen in the first two fights, it might not have mattered by the semi-finals.
Vito Gasparyan (15-3-5, 8 KO) UD6 Simeon Hardy (13-1, 10 KO): Fighting for the first time since a loss to Jessie Vargas in 2012, Gasparyan started slow but ultimately experience counted. Hardy has two wins over knowledgeable veteran Howard Eastman. Gasparyan’s rounds with the fresher Vargas and Jermell Charlo turned out to be the better learning curve. Neither man fought with a ton of energy. For Gasparyan, perhaps that was the rust. For Hardy, was it the moment? He never seemed to go for broke to defend his unbeaten mark and now he’ll watch the rest of the tournament from the sidelines.
Brandon Adams (16-1, 11 KO) TKO5 Alex Perez (18-2, 10 KO): Adams was too fast, too smart, and had too much pop for Perez. The 25-year old finished matters with an echoing right hand. Perez was never really in the fight, a hard fall for a man who has overcome many personal issues in his career. Adams lone loss came in the 160 lb. Boxcino final last year and he showed some growth from that experience. His body belongs at 154 and, after tonight, it looks like he may be on a collision course with Skorokhod.
Looking Ahead to April 3rd
Skorokhod vs. Thompson: This looks pretty one-sided heading in. Before the tournament started, it looked like Skorokhod-Moore was basically to determine who would be in the final in their bracket. Nothing that happened in Thompson-Pinnell changed that. Thompson boxed well against a limited foe, but Skorokhod appears a different level (or three) entirely. If Thompson had big power, maybe this would look different. That doesn’t look like it’s the case.
Adams vs. Gasparyan: Gasparyan will have to be sharper, earlier, if he’s going to build on his success against Hardy. Adams speed of hand and foot will be a problem. Adams will have to be cautious about getting power happy off this performance. Gasparyan has seen some quality looks in his career. Seeing them, and beating them, have been two different things. If the two semi-final matches, this looks like the closer call. That also makes it look like the fight to anticipate.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]