By Sam Geraci at ringside
Photos: Joey Hill/joeyhill.com
In the main event of the evening on Friday night at the UIC Pavilion, Chicago’s Donovan “Da Bomb” George (24-3-2, 21 KOs) fought to an unpopular draw with Mexico’s David “The Destroyer” Lopez (41-13-1, 23 KOs) in a competitive bout that many at ringside believed he won. Official scores were 96-94 for Lopez, 97-94 for George and 95-95; Fightnews scored the bout 98-92 for George.
In the first, George pawed with his jab looking to set up his right hand as he stalked the much taller Lopez. Within the first thirty seconds, George’s advantage in hand speed became apparent. Other than landing a solid left hook towards the middle of the round that didn’t phase George, Lopez was inactive and outworked by George, who landed failed to cause any damage with the few solid right hands that he landed.
In the second, George continued to outwork Lopez by plodding forward behind his pawing jab mixed with an occasional shot to the body. Towards the one-minute mark, George began to shoot the jab with more authority and as a result began to score more frequently with his right. In the final seconds of the round, George landed a well-timed looping right hand that was the best punch landed throughout the first two rounds. As discussed in an interview with Fightnews before the bout, George and his camp work to land the right by disguising it and switching its trajectory.
In the third, it was more of the same until George caught Lopez with a terrific straight right that sent Lopez into the corner. While in the corner, George unloaded a barrage of power shots that seemed to be on the verge of stopping the gritty veteran. Somehow, Lopez absorbed George’s shots and managed to score with several shots of his own as the round closed. Although it was a big round for George, George appeared to have punched himself out by the end of it.
In the fourth, George was clearly fatigued but managed to carry the round by outworking Lopez and landing one significant looping right hand despite absorbing a couple straight left hands. Although George carried the round, it is apparent that he is fatigued and even after absorbing George’s onslaught in round three Lopez appears to be growing stronger.
In the fifth, sensing that he might be losing the momentum, George came out on his toes and landed with a quick one two. Throughout the fifth, despite the fatigue, George managed to carry most of the round with his work rate until Lopez hurt George towards the end of the round with a lazy right hand. Close round but Lopez appeared to steal it with the right.
In the sixth, George abandoned his footwork and movement but managed to carry the round by landing solid right hands and jabs. Despite George carrying the round, Lopez appears to be coming on strong but has been unable to translate his growing advantage in the war of attrition into punches landed.
In the seventh, Lopez was successful in slowing George’s attack by circling to his left and right to keep George from gaining leverage on his shots. Although Lopez is handling George’s power and appears to be the fighter with more reserves, he is simply too inactive to win the round. Towards the middle of the round, Lopez did score with a solid left counter as George dove in recklessly.
In the eighth, Lopez had a terrific round as he appeared to outwork and outland George. In addition, Lopez finally took advantage of George’s fatigue by pressuring him and throwing more than one punch at a time. George’s face is beginning to get busted up. Very good round for Lopez.
In rounds nine and ten, George rebounded by outworking Lopez, who again appeared the stronger of the two fighters. George controlled rounds nine and ten with his jab, right hand, and work rate. Towards the end of the tenth, George caught and hurt Lopez with a right hand. George followed the right with a barrage of punches that would have been enough to close the show against a lesser fighter. The ninth was close because of the lack of activity, but the tenth was a big round for George.
Granados vs. Cintron
In the co-main event, the most exciting fighter in Chicago and one of the most promising Chicago prospects in recent years, Adrian “El Tigre” Granados (11-2-2, 7 KOs), fought to a draw against former welterweight champion Kermit “El Asesino” Cintron (33-5-2, 28 KOs) in a bout that many who were unfamiliar with the skill and toughness Granados gave him no chance winning. Scores were 96-94 for Granados, 95-95 and a surprisingly wide 97-93 for Cintron. Fightnews scored the bout 95-95.
To start the bout, Cintron seemed determined to land the jab and walk Granados down in order to land his signature right hand. Cintron is much larger and looks like a large seasoned welterweight against a determined and skillful young junior welterweight. Although Cintron began by coming forward behind his jab to set up his right, Cintron carried the round because of his well-timed left hooks that he used to counter Granados as Granados dove in repeatedly. Although the first was a good round for Cintron, towards the last minute of the round, Granados landed the more damaging shots and appeared to have settled into the fight. At the close of the round, Cintron, as well as many at ringside who had not seen Granados, looked shocked that Granados was still standing and holding his own.
This was a very difficult round to score because Granados became the aggressor and was more effective in the final minute, but Cintron controlled the first minute with his jab and movement and controlled the second with his counter left hooks. Fightnews scored the round for Cintron.
In the second, Granados came out recklessly but landed a powerful overhand right followed by a left hook that stunned Cintron. Within the first minute of the second, Cintron and those familiar with Granados realized that this bout, like all of Granados’s bouts, was going to be a war. Granados controlled the second by feinting and then firing his left hook or leading with his beautifully targeted looping right. Although Granados was successful in feinting and then scoring with both hand, every time he scored, Cintron appeared closer to countering. The counters never came and Granados had a big round.
To start the third, Granados came out and landed a crisp overhand right. Although Granados continued to dive-in, he was successful in using terrific head movement and brilliant footwork to avoid Cintron’s left hook counters. Towards the middle of the round, Cintron did score with a powerful right but it had no effect. Granados has always shown a terrific chin, but he has never been tested by someone with the power of Cintron and has never fought a solid welterweight.
Towards the second half of the round, Cintron began to score more frequently but after doing so he was forced to hold to slow the attack of Granados. Although this was a close round, Granados appeared to pull it off by making it his fight and wearing down Cintron, who looked discouraged as the bell sounded.
In the fourth, Cintron used his experience and ring generalship to control the fourth. Like the first, Cintron used a sidestep to position himself to land the counter left hook as Granados dived in recklessly. Near the one-minute mark, Cintron caught Granados with a two-punch combination that caused the blood to flow from Granados’s nose; those shots may have broken the young fighter’s nose.
As the round progressed, as he has done against lesser opposition in each of his Chicago club shows, Granados taunted Cintron and urged him to punch harder to prove the extent of his Machismo and the greatness of chin. At one point, Granados leaned against the ropes and lured Cintron in so that he could counter. While these tactics won the support of the crowd and showed Granados’s toughness, it was Cintron who scoring big and causing damage. This was a dominating round for Cintron that showed the inexperience of Granados.
In the fifth, Granados came out with resolve and the determination to make it his kind of fight—a war—but Cintron appeared to have figured out the young fighter and elected to counter with solid left hooks. While Cintron clearly carried the first half of the round, Granados imposed his will as the round progressed and forced Cintron to hold instead of countering. Towards the end of the round, after absorbing several left hooks to the body and head as well as several looping rights, Cintron looked spent and began to bleed from this nose.
Incredibly difficult round to score and it probably should have been scored evenly, but Fightnews scored it for Cintron. This is the second very close/even round on the Fightnews scorecard that was awarded to Cintron, which ultimately lead to Fightnews scoring the bout a draw.
In the sixth, Granados came out as determined as he was in the fifth, but unlike the fifth, Cintron could not counter. Granados walked through all of Cintron’s shots and began to score consistently to the body and head with left hooks and looping rights. Although Granados had eaten Cintron’s left hook throughout the night, the fight began to resemble all of Granados’s fights. Big round for Granados.
For those who have not followed the career of Granados, the fifth and sixth rounds can be seen as a microcosm for a Granados fight: he takes a beating early, continues to come out and attack the body and head before finally imposing his will and instilling doubt in his opponent.
In round seven, Granados might have tired or simply became overconfident because he abandoned his body attack, feints and footwork and reverted to diving in recklessly and leaning over. As a result, Cintron took control of the fight again and landed enough clean counter left hooks to take the round. Cintron controlled the round and scored big in the final thirty seconds.
Ironically, at this point in the fight, Cintron’s best weapon had become his left hook while Granados’s most effective shot and the one that hadn’t left him open to counters had been his looping right.
In the eighth, Granados took heavy leather from Cintron but continued to press forward with the blood streaming from his nose. Ultimately, however, Granados was unable to mount a successful attack because Cintron continued to counter with the left while occasionally adding a crisp cross to his attack before initiating a clinch. Although Cintron’s holding bordered on excessive, it was an intelligent adjustment that was wisely initiated immediately after landing one of his shots or immediately before Granados threw on of his. Good round for Cintron.
To start the ninth, Granados sought to recapture his momentum by landing a short right. Shortly after, Cintron landed a great right of his own, but Cintron’s right only had the effect of pushing Granados to prove his Mexican Machismo again. This time, however, unlike the fourth, Granados fired a five-punch combination. Although only two punches landed, the hand speed and fact that Granados continues to punch after taking so much punishment seemed to be break Cintron’s confidence. Towards the middle of the round, Granados changed gears from plowing forward to sticking and moving on his toes. Overall, a very impressive round for Granados.
In the tenth, with the fight on the line, Granados was the fighter pushing the action and imposing his will. Granados scored with powerful hooks and looping rights throughout the round. The crowd roared as the round came to a close because Granados finished the bout impressively and appeared as if he could have stopped Cintron if given another minute or so. A very dominating round for Granados.
For those who have not seen Granados and believe that his success against Cintron was simply a result of Cintron being a faded fighter, it is important to remember that Granados has earned a reputation as Chicago’s most promising young fighter, was an alternate for the 2008 Mexican Olympic team, earned his nickname from Nacho Beristain while working in camp with Juan Manuel Marquez and had a close decision loss to Frankie Gomez in a fight many believed he was winning before being dropped.
Socarras vs. Sergio Montes de Oca
In the first televised bout of the evening, highly regarded Cuban bantamweight prospect Hairon “El Maja” Socarras (7-0-1, 5 KOs) of Havana, Cuba, now fighting out of Miami, FL, overcame a bad cut above his left eye in order to outclass Chicago’s Sergio Montes de Oca (7-2-1, 1 KO) en route to a unanimous decision. All judges scored the bout 40-35.
In the opening seconds, Socarras scored a knockdown with a quick counter left hook that caused Montes de Oca to lose his footing. From ringside, because Montes de Oca did not fall to the mat, it was difficult to determine whether Socarras was credited with a knockdown because his glove touched the mat or because the ropes held him up. Either way, Montes de Oca had no response for the hand speed, footwork and counters of Socarras. As many predicted heading into the bout, throughout the first, Montes de Oca came forward throwing and occasionally landing his left hook while Socarras shrugged off his shots in order to score with flashy and damaging counters to the body and head. A bad clash of heads towards the second half of the round caused a bad gash above the left eye of Socarras.
In the second, Socarras began pawing at his eye to clear the blood. The cut, which was the first of his professional career, appeared to light a spark in Socarras who began to fire sharp and devastating combinations in an effort to score the knockout. Montes de Oca survived the attack and showed the grit that has made him one of the more exciting fighters at Chicago’s smaller shows.
Towards the middle of the second, however, unlike any of his previous bouts, Montes de Oca stood in the center of ring and tried to outthink Socarras. In this bout, any thinking favored the more seasoned and talented Socarras.
In the third, the corner of Socarras seemed to get the bleeding to slow. As a result, Socarras came out determined to fight from a distance and seemed content to fight as such in order to score the decision. Although Montes de Oca landed more frequently than he had in the first two rounds, especially with his left hook, Socarras continued to land the more meaningful shots. The best punch of he round was an overhand right from Socarras that was scored within the first twenty seconds of the round. As the bell sounded, Montes de Oca looked at Socarras with respect and seemed to acknowledge that for the first time in his short but entertaining career that he was overmatched.
In the fourth, Montes de Oca, as expected by those who have followed his career, came out determined and hoping to land the left hook, but Socarras simply used his defense, counters and footwork to thwart his attack. Socarras can simply throw more types of punches and in a shorter amount of time while using his footwork to get out of harms way. Having said that, Montes de Oca did score with several left hooks. Towards the middle of the round, Socarras caught Montes de Oca with a counter left hook that appeared to have Montes de Oca hurt, but Montes de Oca fired back and landed a left hook of his own. As the round came to a close, both fighters tried to score big but were unable to land anything of any real significance.
This was a typical matchup between a boxer and brawler, but in this bout, the brawler lacked the punching power needed to make up for the deficits in ring generalship and hand speed.
Littleton vs. Acevedo
In an entertaining non-televised contest between undefeated super middleweights trying to move from club fighter to prospect, Puerto Rico’s Roberto Jose Acevedo (7-1, 4 KOs) failed the “Littleton Test” against Chicago’s Paulie Littleton (7-0-1, 4 KOs). As he has done against every fighter thus far in his short career, Littleton outworked, outmuscled and most importantly outsmarted Roberto Jose Acevedo over six hard-fought rounds. All three judges scored the bout 59-55 for Littleton.
In the opening seconds of the bout Acevedo stormed Littleton and it appeared he believe he could score the knockout by overwhelming Littleton. In fact throughout the first, which was a round that could have gone either way, Acevedo abandoned all technique and strategy in an attempt to score the knockout.
In the second and third, Littleton, who is beginning to establish a reputation for making adjustments, began to time Acevedo coming in to score with his left hook and overhand rights. One of those left hooks scored big and hurt Acevedo. Littleton also began to force the fight inside in order to smother the much longer Acevedo terrific uppercut. (10-9)
Although Littleton carried much of the fourth, towards the middle of the round, Acevedo landed a perfectly timed right uppercut, as Littleton squatting to avoid what he though would be hooks. Littleton appeared to be in serious trouble but finished and might have done enough discourage Acevedo who seems to be surprised that Littleton is still standing and throwing.
In the fifth and sixth, Littleton avoided Acevedo’s big shots in order to control the action. Throughout the fifth, Littleton landed several hooks and looping rights that wobbled Acevedo. In the sixth, Littleton came out determined to secure the victory by backing Acevedo into the corner and unleashing a devastating onslaught of more than ten punches landed without a response. Somehow, the bout was not stopped and Acevedo managed to survive the round on his feet with his head held high. Round six could have been 10-8.
Littleton was impressive and should have done enough to position himself for an opportunity to be part of a televised bout within the next year. Although Acevedo showed solid punching power, a terrific chin and a ton of heart, he also showed what can happen to an untested fighter when he steps up against another undefeated fighter who has yet to be challenged.
Arambula vs. Akin
In the first bout of the evening, featherweight Jose “Chico” Arambula (3-0, 2 KOs) of Chicago, IL, stopped Jacob Akin (0-1-1) of Kansas City, MO, at 2:46 of the first with a left hook to the body.