Yudel Jhonson Wins Mismatch; Veteran Estrada Earns Decision

By John Gabriel Thompson: Yudel Jhonson (11-0, 7 KO’s) won a near shutout over Jose Miguel Torres (21-5, 19 KO’s) on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights series from A La Carte Event Pavilion in Tampa, Florida. Torres looked about as good as one could expect for someone with a long layoff (not having fought since May of 2009) and against a boxer with Jhonson’s pedigree. A Cuban Silver Medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Jhonson also has almost four hundred amateur bouts under his belt.

The brother of former champion Ricardo Torres, Miguel Torres looked as though he wanted to fight, but Jhonson afforded him little opportunity, moving extremely well. In the third Jhonson kept his hands low, occasionally landing quick shots, then moving away, then landing quick shots, and moving away again, all before Torres could even think about countering. Torres seemed to want to punch, but doubted his ability to catch Jhonson.

Torres started to pick up the aggression by the fifth, but still with no success. And despite his clear advantages, Jhonson seemed content to move away rather than mount a serious offence of his own. Torres just followed him, not really throwing or landing when he did throw. Referee Max Parker took a point from Torres in the start of the seventh, though it was unclear if it was for punching low (Torres hit Jhonson twice in the hip) or for punching on the break.

In round eight ringside commentator Joe Tessitore said, “We see Jose Torres just hopelessly chasing at times after Yudel Jhonson.” Teddy Atlas interrupted, “I would disagree with you… I wish he would chase him.” Tessitore argued, “But hopeless – the way he’s going about it. He’s not going to accomplish anything.”

Jhonson lost a point in the tenth and final round for hitting behind the head during a clench, but that was the only point of the night he lost on my scorecard. In a rare agreement with Teddy Atlas, I also scored it 99-89 for Jhonson. The judges were more generous with two scores of 96-92 and the other 97-91 all for Jhonson. Though he won a convincing victory, Joe Tessitore said it best of Jhonson, “He's extremely talented... But you have to think, he could have done much, much more with Jose Miguel Torres in there tonight."

In the televised undercard, Tyrese Hendrix (20-3-1, 9 KO’s) from Georgia had won two in a row (both by stoppage) coming into his match with Walter Estrada (39-14-1, 25 KO’s) from Colombia but now living in Miami. Estrada lost his last fight in March and took this fight on just nine days notice. Estrada has many losses on his record, but it should be noted that many of the losses came against undefeated fighters. In fact, Estrada had only three wins in his last ten matches – though one was a surprising split decision victory over former world champion Nate Campbell last November

It was a slow start as the two southpaws spent the first round trying to feel out one another. Estrada was more aggressive, though both were just pawing with the jab. In the final seconds of the round Estrada landed a solid hook or two and then threw a combination, most of which missed the mark. Estrada threw a decent barrage in the second, but then the action slowed again. Hendrix looked extremely tentative, though he did a good enough job of moving his head and keeping his guard up to keep Estrada from landing anything too meaningful.

By the fourth round, Hendrix had started not only to loosen up, but finally looked as though he was there to fight. Ringside commentator Teddy Atlas picked up on this and said, “Hendrix has made an adjustment the last two rounds – picking it up, trying to control this fight a little bit.” Nevertheless, Estrada seemed to be landing the harder shots, while making Hendrix miss his power punches.

Hendrix finally landed what seemed like his first power shot in the fifth, after Estrada had hit him with a combination of punches. In the latter part of the round, Estrada did a good job of making Hendrix miss. The action slowed again in the sixth and especially in the seventh as both men tentatively looked for openings. Estrada landed a good left and followed up with some combination punching to clinch the eighth and final round, not allowing Hendrix to catch him with anything of significance. The judges scored the match 79-73, 77- 75, and 78-74 (as I did) all for Walter Estrada.

Article posted on 04.06.2011

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