Silver Medalist Jhonson Has Talent, Lacks The Fireworks

By Cliff Rold

A win isn’t always a win, even if it keeps one undefeated.  After all, how much victory can be had in a fight that is completely unmemorable, that makes no one excited to see the victor again?  The best can be said is that at least it’s not losing.  Such was the case on Friday night at the A La Carte Event Pavilion in Tampa, Florida as undefeated 29-year old Cuban Jr. Middleweight Yudel Jhonson (11-0, 7 KO) of Miami, Florida went ten rounds for the first time in a unanimous decision victory over 31-year old Jose Miguel Torres (21-5, 19 KO) of Magangue, Colombia. 

Torres, who has never been stopped, was making his first start since May 2009 and came into bout under the division limit of 154 lbs. at 152 ½.  Jhonson came in just over at 154 ½.  The referee was Max Parker Jr. 

Jhonson began the bout calm, his southpaw right jab deliberate, as was the same hand thudding to the flanks of Torres.  A long left from Jhonson seemed to stun Torres but Jhonson didn’t give chase.  Torres threw a hard right over the top of a Jhonson left that smacked his face and, moments later, added a quick lead right.  Torres tried the punch some more before the bell but missed the mark, Jhonson slipping the shots.

The action built in tempo throughout the second, Jhonson forced out of his methodical posture by an inability to get out of the way of Torres’s right hand.  Despite controlling the round and landing more, it was a Torres right that visibly caught the attention of Jhonson near the minute mark that stood as the most memorable shot of the round.  Torres found less success in the third as Jhonson more deftly feinted and blocked from range.

Round four was, like the third, light on action as Jhonson chose to box.  Torres had little answer and the fight settled into a dreary pattern of sparring session boxing from Jhonson and ineffective bursts of aggression from Torres.  The underdog cost himself a point in the seventh with a low blow and bothered Jhonson greatly with a punch on the break in the eighth but those moments were not enough to build life into the contest. 

A right hand in the early going of the tenth and final round snapped the head of Torres around and hurt him but Jhonson, as he had early in the fight, didn’t press.  An errant rabbit punch from Jhonson cost him a point and the fight lolled to its conclusion.  Jhonson, a 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist for Cuba at Light Welterweight, was the easy winner at scores of 96-92 twice and 97-91.  

The televised opener provided only slightly more in terms of action but ended with a pleasantly surprising, minor upset as 35-year old Colombian former title challenger Walter Estrada (39-14-1, 25 KO), 139, of Miami, Florida outworked 30-year old Tyrese Hendrix (20-3-1, 9 KO), 139, of Gainseville, Georgia in an eight round Jr. Welterweight contest.  Estrada captured a unanimous verdict by scores of 79-73, 78-74, and 77-75.  The referee was Frank Santore Jr.

Hendrix suffers his third defeat in five starts, all by decision.  Estrada challenged Scotland’s Scott Harrison for a WBO Featherweight belt in 2004, suffering a stoppage in five. 
The card was televised on ESPN2 as part of its “Friday Night Fights” series, promoted by Fight Night Productions and Warriors Boxing.

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

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