Reflections on Olusegun-Chebah and Perez-Meza

By Paul Strauss: Showtime's Friday night edition provided an exciting night of action for boxing fans at the Chumash Casino in Ynez, CA. The semi-main event showcased the lightweight talents of Darley Perez 23(18)-0. Perez looked sharp and poised in his 6th round stoppage of Meza 22(18)-5. Perez did get tested, though, by the game Meza, as Perez stepped up the quality of his opposition.

There was good action right from the start. Both men fought out of the orthodox stance, and were throwing hard from the opening bell. Meza wanted to be the aggressor and drive Perez back, but Perez quickly demonstrated his confidence and superior punching power and excellent balance. He threw nice short, crisp hard shots. At first he mainly countered, but occasionally mixed in a lead right hand. It was also apparent early on that Meza was willing to risk exposing holes in his defense if he could land a shot.

Perez dominated the early action with his accurrate, hard jab. When Meza attempted to get his own jab going, Perez would counter over the top of it with a good right hand. Already by the second round, Perez was mixing up his punches well. He was throwing them all, from a good jab to uppercuts and lead rights. He was also going up and down; first the body, then the head. By the third round, Perez was totally in charge. He was more comfortable, and not worried about taking chances, because he knew Meza wasn't going to make him pay for any mistakes.

Meza's corner warned him from the outset to keep his hands up, but if he wanted to remain aggressor, and he knew that meant he would also be vulnerable. So, he kept pressing the action. By the third round, a cut opened up over Meza's left eye, and he seemed to be tiring noticeably. His corner advised him to keep the pressure on, adding that he had to do so with combinations, and not just one punch. Easy said than done when you're getting countered so well.

In the fourth round, Meza finally got a shot through, but Perez quickly recovered, and never lost his poise. In the fifth round, Perez opened another cut on Meza. This one was under the left eye. Referee Tony Grebs ruled it as the result of an accidental head butt, but Perez clearly had landed a hard right hand punch that easily could have been the cause.

By the sixth round, Meza's jab was really slowing down, and Perez was able to really unload with hard right hand counters. Perez also wisely worked the body over with some punishing shots. He obviously knew he had Meza on the way out, so he stepped up his attack, varying his punches to not only punish Meza, but to demoralize him as well. Meza had proven to be tough, but he also had lost every round, and there was no way he had enough left to score a knockdown, let alone a kayo, which is what he needed. His corner obviously knew that as well, so at the end of the sixth round, they instructed Referee Grebs to stop the right, because they knew it just wasn't going to happen and their fighter was being punished with no remaining chance. Perez had scored a TKO at the end of the sixth round to remain undefeated.

In the main event, light welterweights Ajose Olusegun 29(14)-0 and Ali Chebah 23(18)-0 put their undefeated records on the line in an attempt to become the mandatory challenger for Erik Morales' WBC light welterweight title. Apparently Chebah had some difficulty making weight, and after some last minute effort made 140lbs. In the pre=fight interviews, southpaw Ajose thought his right hook would be his big weapon, but he planned to be the aggressor as well. Chebah's plan was simple. He was confident he would kayo Ajose.

Ajose started things out at a fast pace. He wa trying to overwhelm Chebah with a variety of punches. Chebah seemed relaxed, but maybe a bit too casual about the whole thing. There is only one half inch difference in height between these two, but it appeared to be much more one sided in the gangling Chebah's favor. Ajose looked much more cut and heavily muscled. Ajose also demonstrated more speed, and punched in flurries, which kept Chebah step or two behind.

Chebah stayed confident, and was throwing hard straight punches, but just couldn't get off enough of them. When he did manage to unload with a combinations, he more often than not couldn't find Ajose's head. He should have been throwing more to the body, but Ajose's footwork was good as well, which often took him out of range, or off to the side.

As early as the second round, the southpaw Ajose was doubling up on his straight power left, so even if he missed the first shot, the second and third often times got through. He also managed to come up with some new angles from which to throw his right hook. It was definitely giving Chebah problems. Chebah also continued to have problems with his lack of accurracy.

In the third round, Ajose was credited with two knockdowns, neither of which had Chebah in trouble, but nonetheless made it a 10-7 round for Ajose. The first knockdown came as the result of a wide looping right hook that grazed the side or back of Chebah's head. He stumbled a bit and then fell to the canvas, quickly getting up and looking ready to resume the action. However, Referee Marcus Rosales signaled that a knockdown had occurred. Ajose pressed the action, and soon Chebah was on the canvas again. Announcer Steve Farhood didn't think a punch landed, because the replay clearly showed two of Ajose's attempted punches to Chebah's head missed. But, the replay also showed that a straight left preceding those two punches did land to the chest, and it might have been sufficient to put the off balance Chebah on the canvas.

Regardless, Ajose was dominating the action and had won every round. Early in round four, Ajose tagged Chebah with some hard shots. But, Chebah came right back and landed a good right of his own that had Ajose in some trouble. He quickly turned things back in his favor though, and landed a big overhand right. A game Chebah came back with a decent right left right combination. It might have been enough to give him the round.

As usual, Ajose started round five fast. He kept up his rapid attack for the first minute, then slowed a bit, letting Chebah do a little work of his own. Finally, Chebah went to the body a bit more. He was having some success, but overall Ajose was still more active and busier. The sixth was more of the same, but uneventful. In the seventh, Ajose clocked Chebah with a lead right uppercut. He kept up his high volume punching, and just wouldn't let Chebah get set long enough to get off any kind of quality counter punching.

In the eighth round, Ajose finally made a mistake and pulled straight back. Chebah seized on the opportunity and landed a good right hand. For a moment, things looked promising for Chebah, but he just couldn't capialize. Ajose was just too elusive, and threw too many punches to keep Chebah from following up.

Speed and high volume punching remained the name of the game. Ajose was just too fast, and threw too many punches for Chebah, who kept trying, but in the latter rounds, he clearly was tiring. By the time the championship rounds of this twelve rounder rolled around, it was clear that Chebah needed a knockout to win. It was also clear that he wasn't going to get it. There was no surprise when the UD in Ajose's favor was announced. Consequently, he moves on to 30-0 and becomes the mandatory challenger for Morales.

Curt Menafee asked analyst Steve Farhood if he thought Erik Morales would fight Ajose? There was a bit of hesitation on Farhood's part, but then he said no, he didn't think so. He believes Morales might feel too old (long in the tooth) and fragile (had too many hard fights) to take on a youthful whirlwind like Ajose. However, there's a lot of Morales fans that also believe El Terrible would counter much better than what Chebah unsuccessfully attempted. They believe Ajose would definitely pay for any mistakes he made with wild shots, such as the ones he got away with with Chebah. Hopefully the fight will take place, because it would definitely be an action packed battle.

Article posted on 05.10.2011

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