By John Gabriel Thompson: Lamont Peterson (29-1-1, 15 KO’s) has earned himself a shot at Amir Khan’s belt by stopping Victor Manuel Cayo (26-2, 18 KO’s) in the twelfth round of their International Boxing Federation (IBF) light welterweight title eliminator at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights series. Also in action, Edison Miranda (34-6, 29 KO’s) got himself disqualified against Yordanis Despaigne (9-1, 5 KO’s) for low blows, on the second weekend in a row this writer has covered fights which have ended by low blows.
Cayo, from Santo Dominigo in the Dominican Republic, had won two straight (though one win was against a fighter with a record of 0-8) since his sixth round knockout loss to Marcos Maidana in March of last year. Peterson, originally from Washington, DC and now living in Memphis, Tennessee, was coming off a draw against the now World Boxing Council (WBC) Welterweight Champion Victor Ortiz back in December. A 2001 Golden Gloves Lightweight Champion, Peterson’s one loss (a resounding unanimous decision) came against the highly talented and undefeated WBC and WBO Light Welterweight Champ Timothy Bradley back in 2009.
Cayo’s unorthodox style was apparent in the opening round as he fought with his hands low and his head leaning forward exposed. Despite a lot of jabs, neither man landed much until Peterson connected with a right which landed just behind Cayo’s left ear. Cayo went down and Referee Kenny Bayless ruled the punch to have landed behind the head, and was therefore illegal. As Cayo got up, however, his eyes looked somewhat glazed over. Ringside commentator Teddy Atlas remarked, “Cayo’s acting like it WAS a knockdown… Looking like there’s cobwebs.”
Cayo looked better than okay in the second round, however. He boxed well, landing the cleaner and more effective shots, at one point scoring to the head with a beautiful right uppercut/ left hook
combination. The third round was very close with both men landing one or two punches at a time, Cayo connecting with a great uppercut and Peterson working the body.
Peterson landed a huge right in the fourth which definitely affected Cayo and Peterson seemed to be taking some control over the bout. Cayo attempted to come back strong in the fifth with lots of aggression, but Peterson moved well and made him miss frequently. Peterson continued to move well in the sixth, until the last minute of the round when Cayo got inside and Peterson chose to exchange on the inside. They continued to fight up close in the seventh and there was a lot of two way action as each man fought hard to be the man coming forward, though Peterson seemed to get the better of Cayo in most exchanges. Cayo tried to throw everything in the arsenal in the eighth, but Peterson made him miss and countered effectively. Never the less Cayo continued to fight at a fast pace and came back a bit in the ninth and tenth rounds.
Peterson took back control in the eleventh and then went for the knockout in the twelfth. Peterson caught Cayo with a big right, timing Cayo as he was coming in. After hurting Cayo with that shot Peterson went for the kill, landing right after right, backing Cayo to the ropes. Peterson missed with a big right and Cayo almost made him pay for it. Peterson then fought cautiously for a moment, but after hurting Cayo with a series of shots to the body and head, Peterson again went on the attack, pounding Cayo back to the ropes. Peterson landed a few good uppercuts, some body shots, and then a slapping right which might have landed behind the head again. Cayo went down, more from the accumulation of punches than anything else. He signaled to the referee that he had been hit behind the head, but Referee Bayless started the count, and Cayo did not get up until after Bayless reached ten. It was a stunning twelfth round knockout with just sixteen seconds left in the bout.
Edison Miranda, originally from Columbia and now living in Puerto Rico, was outclassed this evening by Yordanis Despaigne who defected from Cuba to the United States and is now living in Coral Gables, Florida. Despaigne lost his last fight in one of the bigger upsets of a year filled with upsets. Upon closer inspection however, the man who out-boxed him, Ismayl Sillakh, had many of the credentials Despaigne boasted – numerous world amateur competitons, titles, and an impressive number of amateur bouts. Despaigne had competed in the 2004 Athens Olympics for Cuba, and was defeated by Andre Dirrell.
Miranda has lost to some of the biggest names in the sport – Kelly Pavlik, Arthur Abraham (twice), Andre Ward, and most recently Lucian Bute. Though he is known as a power puncher, having stopped eighteen boxers in the first round, Miranda has also been knocked out three times.
With only seconds left in the first round Despaigne landed a hard right to the head which seemed to hurt Miranda. Miranda wobbled a bit as he attempted to hold, though he was immediately saved by the bell. He looked okay in the second, though Despaigne landed several more hard shots. But then after the bell Miranda landed a light low blow. Despaigne went down; seeming to fake a serious injury, and Referee Vic Drakulich deducted a point from Miranda. It should be noted that Miranda had landed at least one low blow earlier in that round. Miranda landed another low blow in the third and Referee Drakulich deducted another point, setting up the possibility of a disqualification.
In the fourth round, Despaigne landed a big right to the head and then followed it up with both hands, hook after hook, to Miranda’s face and chin. Miranda just moved his head from side to side, taking all of them, about eleven shots on the button, and continued unfazed. As he was getting hit, ringside commentator Joe Tessitore said of the barrage, “Shot after shot and Miranda stands up to it!”
Just as the fight was shaping up, with forty five seconds left in the fifth round, Miranda landed another low blow and immediately Referee Drakulich stopped the bout, which brought boos from the crowd. Teddy Atlas was not pleased about the stoppage and talked about how Referee Drakulich might have taken a point too early, forcing him into a corner, and “It caused him to stop what was becoming a very interesting fight, which is too bad for us, too bad for the fans, and of course too bad for Miranda.” Coincidentally, it was Referee Drakulich who ruled that Amir Khan’s borderline punch was legal last weekend as Zab Judah went down and Drakulich counted him out.
Also televised, as the previous match had been stopped early, Badou Jack “The Ripper” (7-0, 7 KO’s) got a chance to show his skills against an overmatched Timothy Hall (6-12, 4 KO’s). Jack is originally from Sweden (though he represented Gambia in the 2008 Olympics) and now fights out of Las Vegas, Nevada. Hall from Athens, Georgia had very little amateur experience compared to Jack’s 115 amateur bouts.
Jack manhandled Hall from the outset, throwing far more punches and from different angles. Jack did not do anything flashy, but he appeared to be the stronger fighter and his work rate backed up his opponent. In the second round, Jack forced Hall into a corner. Hall tried to fight his way out but Jack connected with a hard right to the head that forced Hall back into the corner. Jack landed a few more punches and then a killer right to the body and Hall went down.
Hall waited until the count of nine to get up and Jack jumped on him right away, forcing him into another corner, throwing upstairs and down, without answer from Hall. A vicious left hook to the jaw put Hall down again and the referee, who must have been considering stopping the bout, did just that, waving off the fight.
Sergey Kovalev KO 2 Douglas Otieno
Badou Jack TKO 2 Timothy Hall Jr