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This One Is For Ariyanah: Jamel Herring Beats Ito and Wins 130 Crown on ESPN

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It felt like Fate would be smiling on Jamel Herring, as we looked to his Saturday title shot against Masayuki Ito, on Saturday night, on ESPN.

In a just world, anyway…

Ito came in 25-1-1 and Herring, age 33, was 19-2. And Herring wanted to take the WBO 130 pound crown that much more because this date, May 25, would have been the tenth birthday of daughter Ariyanah, who died at two months old, of SIDS, in 2009.

The Marine, who saw things that render strong beings permanently scarred, in their heart and soul, in combat, spoke unflinchingly this week of the memory of his daughter, and how he wanted to snag this crown in her honor.

Now, that back story material, that moving message, it would not be able to lift the Coram, Long Island, NY hitter to the victory. His ring generalship would have to be the impetus in Kissimmee, Florida, in front of 2,912. And it did; after 12 rounds of smart movement, judicious punching, sharp focus and exemplary in-ring vision, the judges gave Herring the victory.

The scores? 116-112, and 118-110, times two. “And the newww,” said the emcee.

CompuBox stats tell the tale, helping show why Herring won the UD12.

CompuBox stats tell the tale, helping show why Herring won the UD12.

Yes, the world felt a bit more just after he got that hand raised. Herring said after he wanted to give the shoutout to Ariyanah, and also a bestie who had died of lung cancer.

Terence Crawford stood next to Herring and looked on proudly. Herring was asked if he’d like to fight a unification bout, versus Miguel Berchelt? Sure, if that’s in the cards, said Herring. Berchelt was present, and he said sure, I’d like that.

In the first, the 2012 US Olympic boxing team captain, fighting with trainer Brian McIntryre entered at No. 9 according to the WBO. The lefty challenger stood taller, and popped a jab, repeatedly. Ito launched rights to the body. He edged forward while Herring worked in retreat, a very gentle retreat.

In round two, we heard the ESPN crew wonder if maybe Herring was hearing from McIntyre and also Bud Crawford and wondered if it was over-load. Ito throws a paw jab, a range and rhythm setter…and wants to throw a nasty right follow up. Herring was moving well, and making Ito miss in obvious fashion quite a bit.

In the third, the distance closed, and the action picked up. BoMac said he liked to see the jab working and now, to start the fourth, he was seeing the left land, too.

In round four, Herring’s movement was sending a positive message to the judges. The wild rights were errant and Herring’s eye-sight was so spot on. He was seeing everything.

In the fifth, more Herring solidity. Ito’s balance was off because he loaded up on the right, and he needed a more stationary target to land. Late, Herring’s left was hitting home.

In the sixth, it got sloppier, with some clinching.

In the 7th, that distance was closed, again. Would maybe that Ito right find a home? Ito’s balance was still poor, even though the gap had closed a bit. To the 8th–Same thing, the distance shortened. Inside work from both, and clinching, and still, Herring was getting the better of it. “Keep the jab in his face and stay on the outside,” said Bomac.

In the ninth, Herring was clearly not as fresh as he was to the sixth. But he did move more late in the round and that manner served him well.

In round ten, we saw Herring moving, keeping on the outside, worked the jab. He heard Bomac tell him to be careful the next two rounds.

In the 11th, Herring needed to stay clear of the right, not get lazy or sloppy. He succeeded.

In round 12, a right landed on the Herring chin, he handled it. “Be smart all night long in this round,” said analyst Tim Bradley. Smart he was. Then, he hoped he’d hear what he thought he would. And the newwwwww…..

Pedraza back in win column

Former two-division world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza is on the hunt again.

Pedraza (26-2, 13 KOs) knocked out Mexican veteran Antonio Lozada Jr. in the ninth round to win the vacant WBO Latino lightweight title. Lozada (40-3-1, 24 KOs) had not tasted defeat in nearly six years, while Pedraza rebounded from a game effort in a decision loss to Vasiliy Lomachenko last December.

Pedraza knocked down Lozada with a counter left hand, which spelled the beginning of the end for Lozada, who made his name in March 2018 with a stunning 10th-round knockout of the previously unbeaten Puerto Rican star Felix Verdejo.

“I would like to be world champion again at 135, maybe make a title defense and then move up to 140,” Pedraza said. “Lozada was a tough opponent who came to fight with all of his heart. He was a great test for me, and I passed it with flying colors. I can’t wait to see what is next.”

In other action:

— In a battle for the vacant WBO international junior bantamweight title, Koki Eto (24-4-1, 19 KOs) and Jeyvier Cintron (10-0, 5 KOs) fought to a no-contest after it was determined that a headbutt knocked out Cintron. The Florida State Athletic Commission reversed the initial decision of a first-round knockout for Eto, leaving the title vacant.

— Featherweight Adam Lopez is a contender now. The Glendale, California, native overcame a slow start to knock out Jean Carlos Rivera (15-2, 10 KOs) in the seventh round. Lopez battered Rivera against the ropes with a furious combination to end the sixth. Rivera slumped back to his corner and somehow came out for the seventh. Smelling blood in the water, Lopez (13-1, 6 KOs) pounced, forcing the referee to stop the carnage.

“I started a bit slow, but I listened to my corner and made adjustments,” Lopez said. “I knew he had trouble making weight, so I kept pressing him. I saw my opportunity and took full advantage of it.”
— Middleweight sensation Edgar Berlanga (11-0, 11 KOs) did it again, scoring his 11thstraight first-round knockout to begin his career. Gyorgy Varju (7-5, 4 KOs) lasted only 43 seconds, as a right-left combination floored the Hungarian for the count.

“Felix Trinidad called me just before I walked to the ring. That’s all the motivation I needed,” Berlanga said. “I hope I made him proud.”

— It was brief, and it was stunning. Jose Cardenas (17-4, 14 KOs) scored a devastating one-punch knockout over 2016 U.S. Olympian Antonio Vargas (10-1, 4 KOs) at 1:53 of the opening round of a scheduled eight-round bantamweight bout. A right hand put to the point of Vargas’ chin knocked him face-first to the canvas.

 Marco Diaz (2-0, 2 KOs) needed only 50 seconds to knock out Edgard Figueroa (3-2, 1 KO) in a scheduled four-round featherweight bout.

— Puerto Rican super featherweight prospect Henry “Moncho” LeBron (9-0, 7 KOs) needed only 2:43 to knock out veteran Luis Ruiz Lizarraga Jr. (6-13-1, 2 KOs). Lizarraga’s corner signaled to the referee to stop the fight.

— Puerto Rican featherweight prospect Orlando Gonzalez (11-0, 8 KOs) made it look easy, knocking out Roxberg Patrick Riley (13-2, 7 KOs) in the third round. Gonzalez ended matters with a right hook. Riley got to his feet but stumbled into the ropes, forcing the referee to stop the fight.

— Steve “So Cold” Nelson improved to 14-0, knocking out Victor Darocha (8-5-1, 6 KOs) in the seventh round of a scheduled eight-round light heavyweight bout.

— Former super flyweight world champion Carlos Cuadras (38-3-1, 27 KOs) rolled to an eight-round unanimous decision over Daniel Lozano (15-7, 11 KOs) in a bantamweight contest. Scores were 80-72 2x and 79-73.

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About Michael Woods

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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