Once-beaten welterweight Freddy “El Riel’’ Hernandez withstood a strong final round by Damian “Devo’’ Frias to win a unanimous 10-round decision Friday in the main event on ShoBox: The New Generation on SHOWTIME®. In the telecast’s opening bout at Laredo Entertainment Center, undefeated Victor “Vitino’’ Fonseca rallied to register a ninth-round TKO over Al “The Quiet Storm’’ Seeger in a fast-paced, hard-fought battle of world-ranked super bantamweights. After Seeger hit the canvas from the bout’s lone knockdown, the referee halted matters at 1:41.
The victory was the 10th in a row for Hernandez (26-1, 18, KOs) and earned him the World Boxing Council (WBC) Latino welterweight title. Hernandez, who was born in Mexico and resides in Lynwood, Calif., triumphed by the scores of 98-92 on the three judges’ scorecards. The Cuban-born Frias (16-2, 7 KOs) of Miami, Fla., had a 12-fight winning streak end.
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Fonseca, of Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, improved to 17-0 with eight knockouts. Entering the ninth round of a scheduled 10 for Seeger’s North American Boxing Federation (NABF) and the vacant North American Boxing Organization (NABO) 122-pound belts, Fonseca was behind on two of the scorecards (77-75 and a seemingly out of line 79-73) and even on the other (76-76).
The WBC’s No. 10-ranked contender going in, Seeger (28-5, 22 KOs), of Savannah, Ga., was taken to the hospital afterward for precautionary reasons.
Hernandez had mostly dominated the initial nine rounds against the southpaw Frias, but he got caught early in the 10th and was clearly stunned. “He definitely got me with a good shot,’’ Hernandez, who hurt Frias to the body on countless occasions, said. “I am happy with the win but I really wanted to knock him out. I wish I could have connected more.
“But Frias is a tough guy with an awkward style and those kinds of guys are hard to look good against. I have to go through those kinds of fighters, though, if I want to become world champion.’’
So why didn’t Frias, so lethargic for much of the evening, wait until the 10th round to let his fists go? “That’s my question, too,’’ he said. “I really felt I was stronger than him.’’
Southpaw Fonseca could hardly believe he was trailing on points after eight completed rounds. “I thought it was a close fight, but I was definitely winning,’’ the International Boxing Federation (IBF) No. 7- and World Boxing Association (WBA) No. 8-ranked contender said. “I give Seeger a lot of credit. He was definitely the toughest fighter I’ve been in against. I am very happy to get this victory.’’
Highlights of undefeated and 2008 U.S. Olympian Gary Russell Jr.’s fifth consecutive victory – a unanimous four-round decision over Noe Lopez in a featherweight match – were shown during the telecast.
Curt Menafee, Steve Farhood and Antonio Tarver called the ShoBox action from ringside. The executive producer of ShoBox is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
Friday’s bouts will re-air as follows:
Thursday, Oct. 28 at 11 p.m. ET/PT SHOWTIME 2
The ShoBox telecast also will be available On Demand beginning Tuesday, Oct. 26, and running through Nov. 22.