By Jeff Zimmerman at ringside
In front of a packed house last night, former 2-time World Champion Paulie Ayala kicked off the first of his new Friday Night Fight Series at the beautiful Cendera Center in Fort Worth, Texas. He made sure to give local fight fans one of the best matchups in ages, putting his own undefeated prospect, Samuel “The Main Event” Clarkson (6-1, 5KOs) against the chiseled Don Mouton (12-4, 10KOs) in a middleweight battle.
Although it was a pro-Clarkson crowd, the Houston native and more experienced Mouton used his superior conditioning and relentless straight ahead style to KO Clarkson with a devastating left hook at 28 seconds of the 6th round. Clarkson fell through the ropes and made a half-hearted attempt to get up, but he clearly had enough as Referee Rosario Solis waved it off.
Clarkson has built his short pro career on devastating knockouts and a quick tongue, always willing to hype himself and his fights. It has worked like a charm to date and made the build-up to this fight feel almost PPV-like. In interviews and conference calls that are typical only in big TV fights and not local club shows, both Clarkson and Mouton expressed their dislike for each other. It escalated at the weigh-ins with more smack talk and in your face bravado that drew roars from those in attendance.
Clarkson, clearly the slicker boxer, had early success against Mouton landing short right hooks and a snapping jab to keep the shorter but stronger Mouton at bay. Mouton, built like a Mack truck, kept coming forward landing overhand rights and left hooks which resulted in a cut over Clarkson’s eye in the 2nd round. However, it was multiple upper-cuts by Mouton in that round that did the most damage and seemed to be the beginning of the eventual end for Clarkson.
While Clarkson had his moments over the next few rounds, he was clearly tiring trying to keep away from the bull rushing Mouton. He started breathing through his mouth while Mouton appeared to be getting stronger. Mouton and his corner could sense it too as he went right after Clarkson in the 6th round and finished him off quickly.
After a 3 year layoff, Mouton has reeled off 3 straight wins and at 34 he seems poised to make a late career push into bigger fights. Clarkson, on the other hand, is still a very talented fighter with a super star personality. He may have bitten off more than he can chew against Mouton at this stage of his career, but at 22, he still has a high ceiling and a bright future.
Co-Main – Pablo Torres vs Manuel Rojas
In a back and forth battle, lightweight Manuel Rojas (7-0, 2KOs) won a split decision over Pablo Torres (6-5-2, 5KOs). The scores read 39-37 for Torres and 40-36, 39-37 for Rojas. Rojas had to dig deep to pull out the victory as Torres kept coming forward and landed good body shots throughout the fight. Rojas showed a veteran savvy, working well off the ropes and used his superior speed to counter and land just enough to pull out the victory. Rojas is one of Paulie Ayala’s prized pupils and continues to develop with each fight.
Amos Davis vs. John Vera
Welterweight John Vera (3-0, 2KOs) had an easy time with Amos Davis (1-1) winning a 4 round unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 40-34 as Vera dropped Davis with a left hook in the 1st round. The southpaw Vera used is jab and some nice combinations to fend off the shorter Davis, but had to settle for the decision.
Oscar Almendariz vs Ladez Jones
Bantamweight Oscar Almendariz (1-0, 1KO) stopped LaDez Jones (0-1) at 2:55 of the 2nd round by TKO. Jones did not appear to be hurt, however Referee Freddy Guzman decided to stop the bout as Jones stood against the ropes covering up and not fighting back. This was the pro debut for both fighters. They knew each other well as they fought several times in the amateurs.