David Morrell Jr. didn’t need a developmental stage to prepare himself for the contender level.
The former amateur star from Cuba put the super middleweight division on notice following a one-sided unanimous decision win over Brooklyn’s Lennox Allen. Judges Dr. Lou Moret (120-108), Fernando Villareal (119-109) and Steve Morrow (118-110) all scored the bout heavily in favor of Morrell in the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Fox televised opener Saturday evening at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California.
An interim version of the World Boxing Association (WBA) super middleweight title was at stake, putting Morrell in position to challenge for the real title seemingly at any point he so chooses in his promising future.
Morrell—who defected from Cuba to Mexico in 2017 and now resides in Minneapolis—established in the opening round the reason for his advancing to the contender stage in the infancy in his career. The Cuban southpaw was able to get the better of most of the exchanges, twice pinning Allen—a Brooklyn-based Guyanese southpaw—on the ropes where he was able to slam home a left hook.
Morrell didn’t pardon the body, landing with left hands downstairs. Allen was at his most effective when able to double up on his jab, following up with straight lefts. Allen let his hands go in round two, connecting with body shots and left hands upstairs. Morrell was still effective with his right hook but chose to be more economical with his punches after a quick start. Allen enjoyed his best moment of the fight midway through the round, connecting at close quarters with Morrell briefly losing his footing as the two became entangled.
Action picked up in round three, the first time Morrell has been extended that far in his young pro career. The 22-year old super middleweight picked up the pace and continued to land more and at a higher percentage. However, it was Allen who enjoyed the best moment of the round, riding out an uppercut to connect with a right hook.
The round also left Allen with a cut just over his right eyelid, caused by a clash of heads. It didn’t appear to affect his performance, although the brief momentum shift was convincing enough for Morrell to regroup and surge ahead in round. Morrell was able to mix in defense to considerably cut down the number of punches Allen was able to land.
The shift carried over in round five, where Morrell dominated the action at center ring. Allen was thrown off rhythm, getting caught with a right hook and straight lefts upstairs. The trend continued in round six, with Morrell doubling up Allen in landed punches (88 to 43) by the end of the frame.
It wasn’t all clean, however, as frequent headbutts on the inside prompted referee Jerry Cantu to warn both boxers prior to the start of round seven. Morrell continued to be the far busier of the two, mixing in his overhand left while never abandoning his right hook. Allen struggled to reestablish his jab, forced to play defense and reach with his punches which Morrell easily evaded.
The bout never changed course from that point. Allen’s punch output dwindled as Morrell continued to ooze confidence. As the unbeaten contender was piling up rounds, there came the demand from head trainer Sankara Frazier to pick up the pace and close the show.
Morrell went for it in round ten, rocking Allen with a right hook and continuing to score with straight lefts. Allen did his best to guard against the incoming, showing heart in taking the shots and remaining upright but also unable to position himself to land the type of punch that would change the tide.
At least not until the championship rounds.
Allen temporarily quieted Morrell, who opened round 11 by shuffling his feet but was forced to compose himself after taking a clean shot upstairs. It was Allen’s best punch since round three but also reduced to a singular moment. Morrell resumed control, landing in combination and driving Allen to the ropes toward the end of the frame.
Morrell landed more than 200 punches on the night, though the only time he was able to take Allen off his feet was literally lifting him up early in round 12. An exchange left the two briefly tangled, prompting Morrell to drape Allen over his shoulder and hoist him in the air. Allen was able to connect with a couple of clean shots upstairs once action resumed, but the fight ending with Morrell landing the more telling blows and putting an exclamation point on a near-complete performance.
The lopsided loss leaves Allen with a record of 22-1-1 (14KOs), suffering his first defeat in a pro career marred by inactivity.
Morrell advances to 3-0 (2KOs) with the win, earning an interim version of a super middleweight title whose true claimant is England’s Callum Smith. With more performances like this one, there’s no reason to suggest that Morrell isn’t well on his way to one day joining the division’s elite level.
The bout served in supporting capacity to a scheduled 12-round welterweight bout between Minneapolis’ Jamal James (26-1, 12KOs) and Puerto Rico’s Thomas Dulorme (25-3-1, 16KOs). Morrell and James both train together at Circle of Discipline Gym in Minneapolis.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox