By Barbara Pinnella
Photos by Marlene Marquez
We saw non-stop action in the first, with both fighters scoring some points. The second was tough for both of them as well. The pair of them stood toe to toe, throwing and landing in this fast-paced contest. Nothing changed in the third. Close, hard fight so far, but Orozco was causing the most damage. Escobar can really take a punch. Halfway through the fight and this was a real war.
Antonio was just wearing down Danny with his aggressive style and it finally caught up with Escobar. A right hand by Orozco started the real damage in the sixth followed up by two little lefts, but the referee was already stepping to stop the fight at 2:06 of the sixth round. This was another impressive performance by Antonio.
Nathan Cleverly (25-0, 12 KOs) was wanting to not only keep his win record intact, but keep his WBO light heavyweight belt as well. Trying to stop him was Shawn Hawk (23-3-1, 17 KOs), in a fight scheduled for 12 rounds. Hawk came out in full Indian headdress, as he is a member of the Sioux tribe. The first round was a very fast one for these bigger men, with Cleverly getting the best of the action early on.
Round two also went Cleverly’s way. Shawn would throw punches, but at a three or four ratio compared to Nathan. Still a lot of action in the third, with Hawk getting in some effective punches. The exchange was pretty even in this round, although Cleverly was getting the upper hand with his continuous attack on the body.
Hawk keeps getting rocked but manages to come back. The question remained as to how many times he could do that. Into round six and the story was the same. Both men were landing, but it was Cleverly that was easily in charge. The punches that Hawk was landing on Nathan didn’t seem to make a difference.
In the seventh and with half a minute to go, a barrage of lefts and rights to body and head put Hawk down. As soon as he got up another combination, ending with the right hand, sent him down again. In the eighth it was another body shot that sent him to the floor yet again. Mercifully, referee Tony Crebs stepped in to call a halt to the bout at 1:53. Nathan not only kept his win streak going, but retained that WBO light welterweight title.
“Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome I’ve had since I arrived,” Cleverly said later. “It’s been a great experience for me. I arrived last Friday and went up to the Wild Card Gym and had a few training sessions, a bit of sparring, just getting ready for this moment – fight night. It’s a great opportunity for me to come to the States and showcase my talents. I’m really grateful to Golden Boy Promotions.
“I enjoyed the fight. Hawk came to fight; tough, strong fighter and I felt good in there. It was only a matter of time before I got the KO victory. Bit by bit I softened my opponent up and then the stoppage came. Hopefully I’ll be back in 2013 for one of the big guys.”
Cleverly did admit that a fight with Bernard Hopkins is one that he is really interested in, and it was confirmed that Hopkins will in fact be coming back on March 9. He would have to face one of the world champions to do that, and that does put Nathan in the mix.
Ohio’s Chris Pearson (6-0, 5 KOs) was facing Jeremy Marts (8-13, 6 KOs). Their fight was scheduled for eight rounds in the light middleweight division. They didn’t need the eight; they didn’t even need one round. It was a very quick night for Pearson, as a right hook put Marts down and out at only 44 seconds into the very first round.
When he joined me a little later he told me about the fight, as quick as it was. “It’s boxing, you know, that could have easily been me getting caught. That’s how boxing works. I trained really hard for the fight and I was ready for whatever happened tonight.
“I look to come back December 15 on the Amir Khan undercard. I might fight before than, but right now my management is telling me the 15th. I have to thank my management team Al Haymon and my coach Al Mitchell. I’m trying to get better each time I get in the ring and I’m just thankful for the opportunity. I want to thank everyone that’s supported me. I’m gonna continue to be the best that I can and be something positive in the sport.”
In a fight scheduled for four rounds in the welterweight division, Zachary Wohlman (4-1-1, 1 KO) faced off against Alonso Loeza (3-7-1, 3 KOs). It was still early so the crowd was still small, but Wohlman had a lot of enthusiastic fans, and round one was a good one for the active Zachary.
In the closing seconds of round two Loeza had some good moments, but it really didn’t outshine the work of Wohlman. But what looked to be a total shutout for Wohlman changed drastically in the third. Loeza was getting in all the good punches, and right at the end of the round Alonso’s flurry put Zachary down. He picked up right where he left off in the fourth, and in the opening seconds the referee had to step in and stop the fight only 17 seconds into the final round. Wohlman suffered his first pro defeat.
Bantamweights took to the ring as Isaac Torres (2-0-1, 2 KOs) stood across from David Reyes (2-2-1). This fight was scheduled for four rounds. In the end the fight was scored a majority draw, with the scores being 39-37 for Torres, and 38-38 twice.
Robert Easter made his professional debut against Eddie Corona (0-2). This one was scheduled for four rounds in the lightweight division. Not only did Easter get his first pro victory, but he did it by stoppage at 2:39 of round number two.
Super middleweights started off the evening, or should I say afternoon, as Luis Arias made his professional debut against Joshua Thorpe (1-2) a winning one in a fight scheduled for four rounds.