By Jake Donovan
Jamal James once again stepped up in class, thus further validating his unbeaten record with a 10-round decision over Javier Molina in their headlining attraction Tuesday evening at Club Nokia in Los Angeles.
Scores were 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93 in favor of James in the main event of the latest installment of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Fox Sports 1.
The early going reminded James that each fight will only get tougher from here on out as he continues to elevate his competition level. The unbeaten boxer from Minneapolis was the busier of the two all evening, but Molina was able to have his say on several occasions in a razor thin opening round.
Several of the first few rounds were of the coin-flip variety, with James' busier workrate proving more favorable than Molina's body attack.
It became a moot point over the second half of the fight, as James was not only the busier fighter but also the far more accurate as well. Molina all but stopped throwing punches, moving forward but failing to get inside the long reach of the 6'2" James.
By fight's end, James had thrown and landed more than twice as many punches. His work was well rewarded on the judges' scorecards, taking a well-deserved - and surprisingly wide - decision in eliminating concern over fighting on Molina's home turf in California.
With the win, James improves to 19-0 (9KOs). It was his second straight fight where he was extended 10 rounds after having never fought deeper than eight through his first 17 pro starts.
Caleb "Sweet Hands" Plant registered his first knockout since last August, forcing Adasat Rodriguez into submission inside of six rounds in a super middleweight bout.
The unbeaten middleweight from the outskirts of Nashville moved up in weight for the sake of getting in this fight at the start of the new year. There were times where he made it seem easy, while other points in the fights had fans commenting through social media while Plant wouldn't go full force and begin punching through his target.
After five rounds of boxing, the 23-year old prospect picked up the pace in round six. Rodriguez was there to be hit all night, but was permitted to last perhaps longer than should have been the case. Plant went for the knockout in round six and eventually achieved his goal, hurting his opponent and letting his hands go until forcing a referee stoppage.
The official time was 2:37 of round six. Plant moves to 12-0 (9KOs) with the win. He carries aspirations of fighting 7-8 times in 2016 with the goal of landing among the top prospects by year's end before moving to a title shot in 2017.
David Benavidez aspires to become the youngest super middleweight champion in history. For now, he settles for being a knockout nearly every time out.
The latest hit comes Tuesday evening, where the 19-year old registered a 2nd round knockout of Kevin Cobbs in their Fox Sports 1-televised opener.
Cobbs - at 31 years of age, 12 years his opponent's senior - sought to force a fast pace in the opening round, living up to his "Vermont Bully" nickname. Benavidez - whose older brother is unbeaten former 140 lb. interim titlist Jose Benavidez Jr. - showed poise beyond his teenage years, boxing smartly and keeping Cobbs at his desired distance without having to resort to boxing on the run.
The power game came into play in round two. Benavidez rocked Cobbs with right hands on two separate occasions, only for each instance to be met with a clinch. An ensuing flurry had Cobbs in serious trouble, prompting immediate referee intervention.
The official time was 1:08 of round two. Benavidez moves to 12-0 (11KOs), with all 11 knockouts coming in two rounds or less. Cobbs falls to 10-2 (4KOs), snapping a four-fight win streak.
Benavidez turned 19 years of age last December, is currently 15 months younger than was Darrin Van Horn who was 20 years, four months and 28 days old when he won a super middleweight title in 1989.
With plenty of time to kill on the broadcast, unbeaten super middleweight Malcolm McAllister was able to secure unexpected airtime. The rising prospect from Long Beach made the most of the televised exposure, pummeling Tyrone Selders into submission at 2:39 of round three.
The knockout win didn't come without its share of bumps and bruises, however. As McAllister (7-0, 7KOs) lives for the knockout, he is all too willing to take a shot or two in order to land some in return. Selders (9-8-1, 6KOs) took advantage of those moments for as long as there was a target to hit clean.
Fittingly, it took for McAllister to get clocked on the chin to begin the fight-ending rally. A right uppercut jumped off the sequence, followed by a series of left hooks and right hands upstairs. McAllister teed off on a defenseless Selders along the ropes before the referee jumped in to stop the contest at 2:41 of round three.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox