The early non-televised fights were unspectacular. Junior middleweight Javonny Estella (6-0, 3 KOs) did little to shine in his decision win over journeyman Chris Rollins (5-3-1, 4KOs). Cruiserweight J’Leon Love (25-3-1, 13 KOs) put in his dullest performance to date against Marcus Olivera (28-6-1, 22 KOs), which was more notable for the crowd chanting “Let’s go, Brandon” than anything happening in the ring.
It was a UD in Love’s favor, but more for what Oliveria did not do than anything Love did. Lastly, we had super middleweight Anthony Taylor (2-3, 1 KO), who conveniently slipped any time the unremarkable Chris Avila (1-1, 0 KOs) gained a serious advantage. Not a great fight, but at least Avila was rightfully given the majority decision win as he was the only one throughout the fight to any land shots of substance.
Well, the promoters must have known what they were doing, as the tempo of fight night really changed once the Showtime cameras came on. For starters, they had SiriusXM’s Storme Warren from The Highway announce just prior to the telecast that they were filming footage for Creed 3 throughout the night, which immediately got the crowd whipped up.
First up on the pay-per-view was Puerto Rican Yomar Alamo (20-1-1, 12KOs) versus Australian technician Liam Paro (23-0, 13KOs). Chants of “Puerto Rico” told you right away who had the bigger contingent in the house, and they were treated to Alamo getting a solid knockdown on Paro in the final thirty seconds of the opening round. However, as the rounds progressed, Paro found his dominance and kept the tempo with jab to the head and shots to the body.
Alamo did again see some success again in the final two rounds, landing some solid power shots and forcing Paro into dirty tactics like rabbit punching in round nine. Like the fort of the same name, Alamo was clearly lost by the final round as Paro dominated. When all was said and done, Paro’s workmanship won the day with him winning a split decision, with both judges Alexander Levin and James O’Connor favoring the Aussie.
Next up was the battle between basketball and football between former point guard Deron Williams and former running back Frank Gore. The fight clearly lacked finesse but made up for it in the fun factor. Both men swung for the fences from the opening bell.
Deron Williams showed off the more telling shots, landing hard overhand rights repeatedly on Gore. The assault led straight into an explosion of punches that dropped Gore hard, but inexplicably it was ruled a foul by referee Christopher Young.
Gore then followed this up with fouling assaulting of his own that devolved the rest of the second into a sloppy slugfest. Gore was hugging hard as the third opened, clearly gassed.
Williams took advantage pushing Gore into the corners and ropes and unloading hard on Gore repeatedly. The best Gore could in response to bend forward and hold Williams around the waist in response.
In the final round, Williams came right out with a stinging overhand right on Gore, but the tempo slowed as the two pawed at each other and hugged for most of the round. The result? Judges Efrain LeBron and Michael Ross saw the fight clearly in the Williams’s favor in a surprising split decision.
Third judge Michelle Walker-Serrano’s 38-37 for Gore was baffling considering Frank Gore did little to win any of the rounds. When asked how he felt about his performance, Williams laughed, “I am going to sit my old ass down and let the professionals do it.”
From there, Amanda Serrano (42-1-1, 30 KOs) shined in her lightweight division return against top-15 Spaniard Miriam Gutierez (14-2, 5 KOs). Meant to be her statement to challenge division top dog Katie Taylor, Serrano dominated the fight from start to finish.
The opening round looked as if it was close to stoppage as Serrano spent most of the round clobbering Gutierrez along the ropes and in the corner, just barely keeping herself up from the onslaught.
Admittedly, Gutierrez had some success with the jab in round six, but that may have been more Serrano taking a breather than anything else. In round seven, Serrano clobbered Guttierrez hard in the corners to bring on bloody nose. By round eight, a bright red mouse had formed under Gutierrez’s right eye as the assault continued.
In the final round, Serrano poured it on, wanting to make a statement and hopefully put Gutierrez away while she was at it. Alternating between hard thumping body shots and strafing hooks and uppercuts to head, Serrano really laid it on.
Gutierrez tried to go toe-to-toe, but and ending up having to hug her way to the final bell and she was rocked several times. Though Guttierrez hung in there, there was no doubt how the scorecards were going to go, as two of the judges Efrain LeBron and Michael Ross gave Serrano nine rounds while judge Michelle Walker-Serrano gave her all ten.
Serrano was more than quick to point out in the ring interview how she fought “the best Guttierrez” as she wanted was clearly alluding to her opponent’s delayed fight with Taylor that was compromised by COVID back in 2020.
Finally, we arrived at the spectacle rematch between YouTube star Jake Paul (5-0, 4 KOs) and former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley (0-2, 0 KOs). Originally supposed to be a fight between rising cruiserweight (and cousin to heavyweight champ Tyson) Tommy Fury, this fight still had some drama as Woodley was the first to go the distance with Paul.
Woodley wanted the rematch so bad, he even called Paul on his claim he would only rematch Woodley if he tattooed “I love Jake Paul” on himself. Woodley did, on his middle finger.
In the opening round, people were chanting “Go, Jake Paul!” as the fight started pensively, both feeling each other out with overreaching jabs and sloppy power punches. Trainer (and former cruiserweight contender) B.J.
Flores gave Paul solid advice to pace himself and use the jab effectively, but Paul more often seemed to lung forward, clench, and rabbit punch than use proper ring generalship. Paul still won the first couple of rounds as Woodley showed little ability to counter Paul when he did manage to land a solid hook or overhand right.
Then came round three, as Woodley rocked Paul hard into the ropes with an overhand right that connected perfectly to send Paul stumbling back into the ropes. Insult to injury, as a clash of heads opened a cut on Paul’s forehead moments before. From there, the it became a crowd contest between chants of “go Jake Paul” and “fuck Jake Paul”.
In round four, Woodley shot the momentum he had thinking this was a MMA fight and flipping Paul into the canvas out of frustration with Paul’s constant tie-ups. That did not stop Paul from continuing to do it after Referee Young warned Woodley. The crowd booed constantly through round five and the action mostly holding. Round six looked like it was going to be more of the same, but then out of nowhere Paul landed a perfect right hook to knock Woodley out cold 2:12 into the round. Even brother Logan Paul could not believe what he saw ringside.
After the fight, Paul couldn’t be more elated by what he had done. “I told you I was going to fuck him up!” Paul screamed. “I’ve knocked out every single person I’ve fought!”
Overall, Paul put a hard exclamation point on a fine night of fights at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. As fights with Fury and UFC’s Nate Diaz loom on the horizon, the Jake Paul circus continues to travel the country to wow boxing fans and non-fans alike.