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Feature Story

Soto-Karass aiming for a KO

By Francisco Salazar

Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank

Not many athletes could proudly say that they gained more from a defeat. Although the goal is to be triumphant in competition, athletes can learn from their mistakes and make the most of a second opportunity. Welterweight Jesus Soto-Karass is one of those athletes, even though there were members of the media who thought that he should have had his hand raised and not Mike Jones back in November at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX.

The hard-hitting welterweight thinks he gained more fans and more appeal from networks from his 10 round majority decision defeat at the hands of the unbeaten Jones.

Soto-Karass will hope to gain a measure of revenge when he takes on Jones in a 10 round bout at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Saturday night. The bout, which will precede the highly-anticipated bantamweight showdown between Fernando Montiel and Nonito Donaire, will be televised on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark.”

Soto-Karass (24-5-3, 16 KO’s) survived early troubles against Jones to dominate the middle rounds of their 10-round fight. Although Jones increased his punch output and aggression in the final rounds, it looked as though Soto-Karass landed the harder punches.

Soto-Karass is not crying over the decision three months ago. Although he called the decision “a robbery,” he is now focused at the task at hand for Saturday with the right game plan.

“For this fight, we are going to apply more pressure,” Soto-Karass told Fightnews.com recently. “That is a very important factor in this fight. He will try to outbox me, but he knows that he can not knock me out. They key will be to apply pressure from start to finish.”

Applying a high amount of pressure from the beginning of a fight may be risky, but that has been the style Soto-Karass has been fighting since his professional debut almost a decade ago. Unbeaten in his first 12 bouts, Soto-Karass lost his next three bouts in a row to Nurhan Suleyman, Freddy Hernandez, and Yuri Foreman, all unbeaten at the time.

Soto-Karass would go unbeaten in his next 15 bouts in a row over a four-year span, with victories over previously unbeaten Michel Rosales, Chris Smith, David Estrada, and Carson Jones. However, Soto-Karass lost a disappointing six round technical decision to Alfonso Gomez in November of 2009.

The 28-yer-old Soto-Karass has implemented more boxing to his game in recent years. His last two victories over Jones and Edvan Dos Santos Barros went the distance.

Although he is comfortable being able to box or counter his opponents, Soto-Karass explained that he does not want the bout to go the distance.

“We are going to win,” said Soto-Karass, who now resides in Los Angeles and is a native of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. “I’m going to try for the knockout. We do not want the fight to go to a decision.”

Although Soto-Karass has not won in three fights (he fought to a second round no-contest against Gabriel Martinez after the Gomez fight last May), his popularity has increased with a crowd-pleasing style.

Even though he walked out of the ring as the loser in Arlington, Soto-Karass gained not sympathy, but accolades for a solid performance that night. He hopes to gain more than just that on Saturday night; as a victory over Jones could spring him into the top 10 of the sanctioning bodies.

“I actually won more fans since the fight in November. The fans saw that the judges robbed me and I should have won the fight. I know that there is a loss on my record, but I feel that I won more respect because of my performance. Because of the outcry of the decision, I feel that the fans made the rematch possible.”

Top Rank not only heard the fans, but the media as well. Although the first fight was on the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito pay per view undercard, fans who receive the premium channel should be treated to a solid rematch.

As far as Saturday night goes, Soto-Karass knows he is in for a difficult fight. Jones possesses quickness and athleticism that could give most fighters fits.

However, Soto-Karass is up for the challenge and is eager to show that he should be mentioned as one of the best welterweights around. He will have the opportunity to prove it tomorrow night.

“We know him well and he knows me. I know what he is capable of, but I prepared well for victory. I trust my team as they are behind me 100%. We are looking to knock him out on February 19th.”

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