By Saúl Berríos-Thomas
Someone has to win and someone has to lose, but on a night like Saturday it is not fun being the fighter who loses. Two fighters were knocked out and one was dominated and cut, which is why boxing is such a unique sport. This is the only sport where the consequences of a loss are pain and suffering.
The main event on Showtime’s “ShoBox” was a junior middleweight matchup. Cory Spinks (39-6) and Cornelius Bundrage (31-4-0-1) met again to decide once and for all who the better fighter is. In the first fight Spinks was blown out. In the first round of this fight Spinks was knocked down, but he made it to the end of the round. Bundrage dominated the fight even after he was cut by an accidental head butt. Early in round seven Bundrage landed two quick knockdowns. Spinks got back up, but was pretty much done and tried to run away for the rest of the round. Spinks almost escaped the round, but Bundrage caught him within seconds of the end of the round. Once Bundrage landed a good combination the referee stopped the fight and gave Bundrage his second victory over Spinks.
The second bout on Showtime featured the prospect widely regarded as next in line to rule the lower weight divisions. Gary Russell Jr. (20-0) was challenged by featherweight Christopher Perez (23-3). Russell has speed that is amazing to watch. In the second round Russell landed a left hook right hook combination that sent Perez to the canvas, but Perez was able to recover and finish the round. Thirty second into the third round Russell landed another combination that knocked Perez down. Perez got back up only to be sent back down 15 seconds later. The third knockdown of the round was the one that caused the referee to stop the fight. It took three rounds for Russell to remind the world why he is one of the best prospects in any division.
The opening bout featured one of the most popular and talented Cuban prospects in all of boxing. The junior middleweight Erislandy Lara (17-1-1) faced Freddy Hernandez (30-3-0-1). Lara has a skill set that immediately becomes apparent when he is in the ring. He can connect with powerful combinations quickly. Lara was effectively landing punches directly through Hernandez’s guard and Lara was able to counter anything Hernandez did. Lara was in control most of the fight. In the sixth round Lara appeared to head butt Hernandez intentionally. At the start of the seventh round the fighters’ heads clashed again and Hernandez had a bad cut open up over his right eye. Lara was able to dominate throughout while Hernandez had his face turn into a bloody mask with at least three or four cuts. Lara received a unanimous decision.
The victors move on to bigger and better things while the defeated fighters will need time to heal. Saturday showed why this sport is vicious and yet so rewarding. The question is who will want to get into the ring with these men who caused so much pain.