By Jake Donovan
A night that was supposed to be headlined by a super middleweight title eliminator instead ended in disappointment for the fans and especially for Librado Andrade.
The rebuilding contender saw his 12-round main event battle hit the scrap heap after originally scheduled opponent Donovan George refused to fight due to a discrepancy over the ring size.
Those who took in the night of action were instead treated to an entertaining makeshift main event as Sergio Thompson scored a over Julio Camano.
The official was 2:24 of the third round.
Thompson dominated the action from the opening bell, though the action wasn’t always pretty. Several slips and unintended pirouettes highlighted (or lowlighted) the first couple of rounds of action. Thompson was anxious to put on a show for his countrymen, but was a bit too wild, swinging and missing with looping power shots which threw him off-balance.
Camano gave a good account of himself for the most part, including right up to the fight ending sequence. However, the Panamanian simply found himself outgunned.
Thompson began to dial in with his power shots in the third round, a turn of events that didn’t serve as the least bit of good news for the visiting Camano, who was fighting outside of his native Panama for just the third time in his career. Still, the journeyman refused to go out without a fight, throwing back in return and even at times keeping Thompson at bay.
Momentum flipped at the drop of a dime, with Thompson regrouping and scoring with a left hook upstairs. That proved to be the beginning of the end, with a series of head shots forcing Camano to take a seat in the neutral corner. That he was covering up and no longer throwing back prompted the referee to bring a halt to the evening.
Thompson improves to 21-2 (19KO) with the win, his sixth straight in a span of just 13 months.
Camano heads back to Panama having not won in his six bouts (0-5-1 over that stretch), as his record falls to 8-7-1 (3KO).
What will come of the sanctioned elimination bout between Andrade and George remains to be seen. Both fighters were present at yesterday’s weigh-in, but the drama began earlier Saturday afternoon and measured the ring to be 15.5’, three feet shorter than the contractually agreed upon size of 18.5’, or so the American’s handlers insisted was the case.
George reportedly refused to fight unless the ring was taken down and put back up to contracted spec, but instead pulled out of the fight when that didn’t happen.
A mandatory title shot by default – should that become the ruling – puts Andrade in line for a third crack at current titlist Lucian Bute.
Their first bout ended in high controversy, with Andrade scoring a knockdown in the closing seconds, only to be subjected to a long count which in part prevented him from throwing another punch in the fight. The Mexican ultimately dropped a unanimous decision but managed to punch his way back into contention more than a year later.
The rematch proved disastrous, as Bute overcame early hiccups to score a fourth round body shot knockout of Andrade, who had never before been stopped.
Further struggles came in Andrade’s career earlier this year, when he surprisingly came up short in his spring bout with Aaron Pryor Jr. He has since recovered with a third round knockout of Matt O’Brien on a night that marked the first time in his career that he was able to share a card with brother Enrique Ornelas in their native Mexico.
The 27-year old George is two fights removed from the lone loss of his career, when he was battered en route to a technical unanimous decision defeat against Francisco Sierra last July. He has since won two straight, but his up and down career may be placed on hold depending on the repercussions of abruptly pulling out of Saturday’s bout.
A time-filling swing provided a dramatic ending, with Roberto Manzanarez recovering from a third round knockdown to rally back and stop Edgar Martinez in the closing seconds of the sixth and final round.
Manzanarez was in control early, but was careless as Martinez clipped him with left hook along the ropes to floor him. The bout remained competitive but slowly crept back in favor of the unbeaten Mexican, who rallied back hard in the final round and nailed Martinez with a series of power shots. The final sequence had Martinez literally drooling as he fell to the canvas in a corner, with the referee waving off the bout with just seconds to go.
The official time was 2:46 of the sixth round.
Manzanarez improves to 16-0 (12KO); Martinez falls to 8-4 (4KO).
In the televised co-feature, Carlos Caudras remained unbeaten with a sixth round stoppage of journeyman Alberto Chuc.
The outcome was never in doubt, with Caudras jumping out to an early lead and fending off a brief rally by Chuc to reclaim control and overwhelm his countryman. Caudras scored a knockdown early in the sixth, connecting with left hooks and uppercuts before Chuc eventually went to the canvas. He beat the count, but was under siege when his corner literally threw in the towel to end the fight.
Cuadras improves to 23-0 (20KO) with the win, his fourth of 2011. Chuc has now dropped five of his last six as he stumbles to 14-18 (11KO).
Francisco Vargas racked up his fifth win of the year – all by knockout, and all coming in a span of just over six months – with a first round knockout of Alberto Cupido. Vargas (8-0-1, 6KO) let the leather fly from the opening bell, connecting at will with power shots before Cupido (6-4-2, 5KO) was rescued from further punishment. The end came at 1:52 of the first round.
The show aired live on AT&T's website, http://www.att.net/boxeo.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com