By Francisco Salazar at ringside
Welterweight contender Freddy Hernandez admitted he has had difficulties facing southpaw fighters throughout his career. Friday night was no different for Hernandez, who had difficulties in the openings rounds against former world champion DeMarcus Corley. That did not stop an undeterred Hernandez from moving in and eventually landing the equalizing punch that ended the fight. Hernandez scored the biggest victory of his career, knocking out Corley in the fifth round of a scheduled 10 round fight before a sold-out crowd of 1,400 at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, CA.
The bout headline a seven-bout “ShoBox: The New Generation” card, presented by Gary Shaw Productions.
Hernandez was coming off an eight round unanimous decision victory over Octavio Narvaez in December. Before his bout against Corley, Hernandez was unbeaten in his last 11 bouts since his split decision loss to former contender Golden Johnson five years ago.
Corley took the fight against Hernandez with a week’s notice. The former world champion was coming off a disputed split-decision loss Fariz Kazimov in November. Corley, who lost to Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather, and Devon Alexander among others, figured to give Hernandez a tough fight.
The southpaw Corley started well in the opening rounds, continuously landing left hands to the head of Hernandez. Corley moved well and was able to at times beat Hernandez to the punch.
“I have difficulties with southpaws,” admitted Hernandez after the fight. “The fact that he (Corley) has a lot of experience played a part in me having a difficult time adjusting to his style in the opening rounds.”
As the fight progressed, Hernandez began to land more straight right hands to the head. The shorter Corley countered with left hands and hooks to the body. Hernandez at times attacked the body, landing more with right hands.
Corley and Hernandez clashed heads at times during the fight. During one clash of heads, Hernandez was cut over his right eye, which resulted in him receiving a mandated suspension of 60 days by the California State Athletic Commission.
When it looked as though Corley was in control of the fight, Hernandez came out aggressively in the fifth round. Hernandez had Corley on the defensive, as he threw more to the body.
As Corley was coming up from crouching with his hands low, Hernandez landed a right cross to the head, dropping Corley to the canvas. Referee Pat Russell began to count, but waved the fight over at 1:48.
“My trainer told me to attack more after every round, go more to the body,” said Hernandez, who is ranked in the top 15 by one of the sanctioning bodies. “From the video we watched, we knew he is a good, strong fighter. I could tell he was getting tired after the third round. I didn’t think that the punch that knocked him out would stop him, although I knew I hit him pretty good.”
“I’m fine,” said Corley, who will turn 36 in June. “I didn’t see the punch. By the time I saw it, it was already too late. I’ll be all right.”
Hernandez, from Lynwood, CA by way of Mexico City, DF, Mexico, improves to 28-1 1NC, 19 KO’s. Corley, from Washington, DC, falls to 36-13-1, 21 KO’s.
In the televised co-feature bout of the evening, Lightweight Francisco Contreras made a statement in knocking out Juan Castaneda in the first round of a scheduled 10 round bout.
The hard-hitting Contreras was taken the distance for the first time prior to the Castaneda fight. Contreras dominated the action against veteran Marteze Logan over six rounds. Contreras, who is promoted by TKO Boxing, was supposed to receive a strong test by the hard-hitting Castaneda.
Castaneda’s most meaningful bout was a technical knockout defeat at the hands of Antonio DeMarco, which ironically took place at the Chumash Casino Resort.
The taller Contreras worked behind a jab, following it up with straight right hands to the head. Castaneda attempted to score on the inside of Contreras’ defense.
A right hand stunned Castaneda to the head. Contreras followed it up with two left hands to the head and scored the knockdown with a right hand to the head. Castaneda was not able to get up, pointing to his left knee as referee Jerry Cantu counted him out at 1:38.
After the fight, Castaneda limped out of the ring on his own power, favoring one leg as he walked down the steps.
Contreras, from Irvington, NJ by way of La Romana, Dominican Republic, improves to 13-0, 12 KO’s. Castaneda, from La Paz, Baja California, Mexico, falls to 16-3-1, 12 KO’s.
Kayode stops Whitton
Heavyweight Lateef Kayode remained unbeaten with a second round knockout over David Whitton in a scheduled six round bout.
The former amateur star Kayode used good ring generalship and fast hands to keep the advancing Whitton at bay throughout the first round. Undeterred, Whitton threw right hands to the head, at times catching Kayode flush to the head.
Kayode began to counter Whitton, hoping to land after finding openings in Whitton’s defense. Suddenly, a left hook to the temple area of Whitton’s head dropped the normally-durable fighter to the canvas. Referee Jerry Cantu counted Whitton out at 1:23 of the second round.
Kayode, from Hollywood, CA by way of Lagos, Nigeria, improves to 10-0, 9 KO’s. Whitton, from Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, drops to 10-12-1, 6 KO’s.
Ali decisions Green
Heavyweight Emad Ali won a six round unanimous decision over Chris Green.
The taller and physically bigger Green started well in the opening round, landing right hands to the head of Ali. Instead of building on that, Green did very little after the first round.
Ali was the busier and more aggressive fighter for the rest of the bout. Ali threw and landed multiple combinations to the head and body. Working from the center of the ring, Ali was able to get on the inside of Green and not allowing his opponent to do much.
As the fight progressed, Green made Ali’s job easier by coming at or standing in front of Ali. Taking the initiative, Ali landed a steady array of punches from all angles.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Ali, winning by scores of 59-55, 59-55, and 60-54. Fightnews.com scored the bout 59-55.
Ali, from Brooklyn, NY, improves to 5-0, 3 KO’s. Green, from Denver, CO, drops to 7-5-1, 5 KO’s.
Serrano decisions Pacheco
Local Featherweight Rufino Serrano won a four round unanimous decision over Jose Pacheco.
The taller and quicker Serrano dominated the action for most of the fight. Pacheco, with very limited skills, took the fight to Serrano, at times landing to the head and body. Towards the end of the fight, Serrano got away from throwing combinations to throwing one punch at a time. Pacheco continued to press the action until the final bell.
All three judges, including Fightnews.com, scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Serrano.
Serrano, from Santa Maria, CA, goes to 4-2. Pacheco, from Cudahy, CA by way of Guanajuato, Mexico, falls to 2-11-6.
Rivera stops Thomas
Super Welterweight Ruben Rivera stopped Derrick Thomas in the first round of a scheduled four round bout.
Rivera charged at Thomas from the opening bell, throwing wild punches. One punch stunned Thomas, backing him up against the ropes. Rivera pressured Thomas, throwing and landing an accumulation of wild punches.
Another punch landed that stunned Thomas again, prompting referee Pat Russell to step in and stop the bout at 49 seconds. Thomas and his corner protested the stoppage, to no avail.
Rivera, from Maywood, CA by way of Sinaloa, Mexico, goes to 4-0-1, 3 KO’s. Thomas, from Orange, CA, drops to 2-9-1, 1 KO.
McDavitt bests Romero
Welterweight Anthony McDavitt won a crowd-pleasing four round majority decision over Javier Romero.
McDavitt pressed the fight, at times running at Romero and swinging wildly. Romero tried to box the fight at his pace. But McDavitt, who won over the crowd with his style, kept charging in with hooks and crosses. McDavitt, who has participated in mixed martial arts, landed at will in the final round, landing hard shots to the head of Romero.
One judge scored the bout even at 38-38, while the other two judges had McDavitt winning the bout with scores of 40-36 and 39-37. Fightnews.com scored the bout 39-37 in favor of McDavitt.
McDavitt, from Long Beach, CA, goes to 1-1. Romero, from Compton, CA, drops to 0-3-1.
– Gary Shaw Productions is scheduled to promote another installment of “ShoBox: The New Generation” at the Chumash Casino Resort in May.
– Nick Charles, Steve Farhood, and former world champion Antonio Tarver called the action from ringside for Showtime. It was great to see Nick Charles behind the microphone again after his battle with bladder cancer.
– Marc Lichtenfeld was the ring announcer. Lichtenfeld hosts the nationally syndicated boxing radio show, “Through the Ropes.”
– Denise Lara sang the national anthem.