Arroyo Decisions Sanchez and Kayode Fails to Get the KO

By John Gabriel Thompson: Vincent Arroyo (12-1, 7 KO’s) and Hector Sanchez (19-2, 9 KO’s) put on a great show for the fans at the Grand Casino in Hinkley, Minnesota this evening on ShowBox: The New Generation. Also in action, Freddie Roach trained Lateef “Power” Kayode (18-0, 14 KO’s) won a unanimous decision against Felix “Bad News” Cora Jr. (22-6-2, 12 KO’s).

Arroyo’s one loss came at the hands of then undefeated Mike Dallas, Jr. almost exactly two years ago. Arroyo has won two straight since then (having only fought once in 2010 and once in 2011), both times defeating undefeated fighters. Sanchez is a four time Puerto Rican National Amateur Champion. His sole loss, a fifth round TKO, occurred in April of last year. He has fought once since then, winning via first round stoppage.

Sanchez stood about five or six inches taller than Arroyo and did his best to maintain some distance to accentuate his reach advantage. Arroyo was warned by the referee in the first round for low blows as he tried to get to the body of the taller man. Sanchez dominated the second round as he landed a great counter left hook to the chin, causing Arroyo to stumble backwards. Sanchez landed several more hard left hooks to the chin in that round.

Arroyo had a better round in the fourth, starting and finishing strong though each man had his moments, making it a close round. Arroyo started very strong in the fifth and managed to back Sanchez to the ropes and keep him there for a bit. Arroyo did a good job in the fifth and sixth of forcing inside action, but Sanchez moved and countered well in the seventh.

Arroyo really came out firing in the eighth round throwing multiple combinations, pinning Sanchez to the ropes. Arroyo also landed another low blow and Referee Mark Nelson warned him, “One more down there is going to cost you a point.” Halfway through the round, Arroyo caught Sanchez with a wicked left to the jaw and Sanchez staggered backwards. Arroyo pounded him against the ropes, landing several big headshots. Sanchez tried to hold and then tried to throw back, but Arroyo countered with another big hook to the face. Arroyo also worked the body in the final seconds and it looked as if Sanchez were almost out – a possible 10-8 round for Arroyo.

Arroyo looked a little winded by the end of round eight and perhaps let Sanchez off the hook a bit in the ninth. Sanchez seemed to recover and there was good two way action in the last minute of the round. Arroyo came forward in the tenth, looking to back Sanchez to the ropes but Sanchez moved well. Arroyo threw a left hook that missed his target, striking Sanchez in the shoulder, and Sanchez countered with a big overhand right. Now Arroyo looked hurt and moved backwards with Sanchez coming after him. Then both men traded some good shots to the chin.

Ringside commentator Steve Farhood said of the great action in the tenth, “I’m going to ask if we can make this a fourteen round fight. Ten is not going to be enough; this is too good!” Both men exchanged for the final ten seconds and the crowd cheered for them at the bell. The judges scored it 98-92 (twice) and 96-94 all for Arroyo. Both announcers Steve Farhood and Antonio Tarver thought the score was a bit off, but I had it 96-94 for Arroyo as well.

Felix Cora, from Galveston, Texas, has now lost his last three bouts, and has only won four in his last ten matches. Undefeated Lateef Kayode won a ten round unanimous decision in his last match this past June against Matt Godfrey, who coincidentally stopped Cora in the second round of their match back in 2007. This was Kayode’s third straight fight without a stoppage, despite the fact that Cora has been stopped three times.

Kayode controlled the opening rounds and a cut opened over Cora’s left eye after a headbutt in the second round, but his corner did a good job of making it a non-factor. Kayode was still in control in the third, working the jab and some looping hooks, though Cora did attempt to pick up the pace and in the fourth round landed the best punch of the fight – a whopping left hook. Despite the good shot, Kayode was firmly in control. The fight went on like that for several rounds, with Kayode not going for the kill, content to land and then back off, occasionally sticking out his tongue at Cora.

Kayode backed Cora into a corner in the eighth round and knocked out his mouthpiece with a good hook to the jaw. Referee Steve Smoger picked it up, but could not find a loll in the action as Kayode went to work. Finally a low blow by Kayode allowed Smoger to stop the action and give Cora back his mouthpiece. Smoger warned Kayode not to do it again. The ninth round was probably the best round of the night for Cora. Kayode started well, but Cora came back with a good combination cumulating in a right to Kayode’s head, and Cora landed anther great combination in the final seconds of the round.

At the start of the tenth round both men touched gloves then Kayode hugged Cora. After the amicable start Cora went on the attack. Kayode came back with a multiple punch combination of his own, but then looked gassed afterwards. He proceeded to retreat away from Cora, only fighting when absolutely necessary to keep Cora off him. In the final ten seconds Kayode landed another low blow and Referee Smoger took a point away from him. It would not matter as the judges scored it 97-92 (my score), 96-93 and 98-92, all for Kayode.

Article posted on 10.09.2011

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