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‘A Sides’ Do The Expected; Garcia, Hurd and Fulton Get Wins On Showtime

Michael Woods

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On a show constructed like this, ideally, you want one of a couple things to happen if you are a fan.

You want one upset…You’d want either Arnold Khegai to surprise slick defender Stephen Fulton by pressurizing the Philly fighter and taking him into drown able waters. Or you’d want Francisco Santana spring the performance of an athletic life-time, and spoil the return of Jarrett Hurd by landing the power left hook and wrecking the Hurd revamp outing. Or Ivan Redkach‘s determination would be at such a level that he’d turn in the performance of HIS athletic travails, and he’d be helped by a Danny Garcia looking over his shoulder at bags of loot and a more so mega-fight, against Pacquiao or Spence or Thurman.

O…

fer…

…three.

Fulton smart-boxed his way over Khegai effectively, but his concentration on the “don’t get hit” part of the equation left fans of offense seeking more from the Philly super bantam at Barclays Center on Saturday night, the first TV fight on Showtime on a PBC card.

Khegai’s face speaks a thousand words. (Photo by Amanda Westcott)

Hurd drew boos from a (too harsh?) Barclays Crowd, which three or four times let the Maryland boxer know that they’d didn’t adore his style change. The grinding Hurd, the guy who moves forward, gives his own chin a workout as he grounds down foes, where was that guy? Not so much in Brooklyn, against Francisco Santana in a junior middleweight rust shedder outing for the ex 154 champ Hurd.

Restless patrons wanted more from Hurd in the Santana fight. (Photo by Amanda Westcott)

And then in the main event, Danny Garcia admitted that his shedding 25 pounds in 8 weeks perhaps detracted from his showing against Ivan Redkach, whose determination didn’t over-ride Garcia’s superior skill set. Danny took a UD, and so, all in all, it was an “it was what it was” trio of bouts on the cabler Saturday.

Garcia said after he didn’t have the energy to really push for a climactic KO. (Photo by Amanda Westcott)

They need more pick ’em fights on their main shows moving forward, according to the sages of social media…and I concur. Give us 50-50s, not rust shedders or base builders, please. Here is the release Sho sent out after the scraps:

BROOKLYN (January 26, 2020) – Two-division world champion Danny “Swift Garcia scored a dominant unanimous decision victory over Ivan “El Terrible” Redkach in their WBC Welterweight Title Eliminator Saturday night, headlining the action live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

“I want to thank team Garcia and all my fans in Brooklyn who came out to see me fight,” said Garcia, after he was announced as the winner.

Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) was sharp from the outset, finding a place for his right hand against the aggressive southpaw Redkach (23-5-1, 18 KOs). Garcia kept Redkach weary of his offense by punctuating his combinations with his signature left hook.

Redkach’s offense was centered around landing a straight left hand to the midsection of Garcia, which he was able to place effectively at times. As the fight wore on, Garcia found more holes in Redkach’s defense, stumbling Redkach with a left hook early in round four, and battering him with straight right hands late in round five.

Garcia continued his dominance in the seventh round, landing numerous power punches that caused blood to trickle from Redkach’s left eye. Garcia’s dominance continued to the final round, ending with advantages across the board according to CompuBox. Garcia landed 51% of his power punches, held Redkach to just 88 punches landed and out landed Redkach by over 100 punches.

“I thought the referee was going to stop it because I felt like I was punishing him,” said Garcia. “He’s a tough guy, he hung in there, I wanted to get the KO, but I didn’t get it. I feel like I boxed smart, and I feel like that’s what I needed after this layoff. I really wanted the knockout bad, but I’ll accept this.

“I’m not going to lie, I felt good, but I didn’t feel my best. I did lose a lot of weight for this fight, so maybe that played a factor. From a long layoff, and just losing so much weight. I lost about 25 pounds in eight weeks.”

After 12 rounds of action, the judges were in agreement, giving Garcia the edge by final scores of 118-110 and 117-111 twice.

“I promised myself that I’m going to stay in the gym now and stay in shape,” said Garcia. “I felt regular, but then when I got on the scale a few weeks ago, I was like ‘woah.’ So maybe that played a factor, maybe it didn’t. I make no excuses. I didn’t feel my best, but I felt good.”

“This was very good experience for me,” said Redkach. “He never had me hurt and I was able to learn a lot. I’m thankful to be in this position that my team put me in and I’m going to keep growing from here. I’m going to get back in the gym and get stronger and better. I’m thankful for the experience against Danny Garcia. I’m going to be back and be much better.”

After the fight, Garcia set his sights on the elite fighters in the welterweight division, including unified champion Errol Spence Jr. and WBA champion Manny Pacquiao.

“Either or (Spence or Pacquiao),” said Garcia. “Either of those fights I would like to have. My style looks great against both fighters.”

The co-main event featured former unified champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd returning to the ring for the first time since losing his titles to score a unanimous decision over Francisco “Chia” Santana in their 10-round super welterweight contest.

“We’ve moved on from the Julian Williams fight,” said Hurd. “We came out here, we had a long layoff and we got the job done.”

This was Hurd’s first fight with his new head trainer Kay Koroma, who he trained with in Colorado, taking him away from his home in Accokeek, Maryland for the first time leading up to a fight. Hurd looked to show off improved defense and use his height and reach advantage to dominate with his jab.

“There was definitely no frustration in there,” said Hurd. “We didn’t want to go toe to toe and we didn’t want to make this a risky fight.”

Hurd was able to control much of the fight from the outside, landing 80 jabs throughout the fight, connecting on 22%. He also proved elusive in the ring, allowing Santana to only land five jabs throughout the fight. Santana was able to impose his style at different points though, closing the distance on Hurd and peppering him with combinations punctuated by straight right hands.

Santana’s style however left him vulnerable to Hurd’s counters, which he took advantage of most clearly in the fifth round, countering with numerous straight right hands that rocked Santana consistently. Santana’s 737 punches thrown out paced Hurd’s 684, but Hurd’s 34% connect rate was superior to Santana’s 13%.

Hurd continued to use his feet and evade the charging Santana, before he eventually punctuated his performance by dropping Santana in the closing moments of the fight, first hurting him with a left hook and then putting him on the mat with an uppercut.

“In the last round I wanted to come forward and close it hard, but I got a little bit careless for a second,” said Santana. “In boxing you have to stay focused for every second of every round. He caught me with a good shot.”

Santana was able to make it to his feet and see the final bell, but Hurd was the victor on all three cards, by scores of 97-92 and 99-90 twice.

“We want the belts,” said Hurd. “We want the best. I’m not exactly sure what’s going to be the next move, but we want the belts.”

The opening bout on SHOWTIME saw Philadelphia’s Stephen “Cool Boy Steph” Fulton (18-0, 8 KOs) earn a unanimous decision victory over previously unbeaten Arnold Khegai (16-1-1, 10 KOs) in their WBO super bantamweight title eliminator.

Fulton established his jab as his best weapon from the opening frame, snapping his left hand at Khegai consistently to force his hard charging opponent to hesitate on his way in. Fulton landed 25% of his jabs, connecting on 83, compared to Khegai’s 28.

“That’s what I do,” said Fulton. “I use my jab. I tried to utilize the jab all night and win the fight behind the jab. I showed that I’m ready for a world title next.”

Khegai looked to throw power shots early and often, targeting the body and trying to finish his combos with a left hook. While he was able to force Fulton to retreat to the corner often, he was unable to take advantage, as Fulton was able to hold strategically and slow Khegai’s offense.

As the fight went on, Fulton increased his activity, mixing in lead left hooks and body shots to make Khegai hesitate further. Khegai’s frustration appeared to grow as the fight went on, as his output decreased from chasing Fulton around the ring. While Khegai was the more active puncher over 12 rounds, throwing 649 to Fulton’s 535, Fulton landed 182 punches compared to 123 from Khegai.

“I felt great against a tough opponent,” said Fulton. “I stayed on my boxing, kept him off his game and pulled a victory out. I knew he was a rough and tumble customer, so I just had to keep my composure.”

While Khegai landed some powerful shots in the championship rounds, Fulton was too elusive and was never hurt by Khegai, on his way to earning the victory by scores of 116-112 and 117-111 twice.

“It feels good to get this win,” said Fulton. “We’ve been through tough times and fought tough opponents. I’m proud of my team for staying together. We’re Philly strong. I want that world title. I’m going to train even harder for my next performance so if I have to dog out it out even more, I’ll be ready.”

Prior to the main card, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING COUNTDOWN streamed live on the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page and saw District Heights, Maryland based prospect Keeshawn Williams (19-0, 9 KOs) earn a hard fought unanimous decision over Japan’s Gaku Takahashi (16-11-1, 8 KOs) in their eight round welterweight affair. Williams, who is trained by Barry Hunter, triumphed on all three cards, by scores of 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74.

Streaming action also featured rising prospect Lorenzo “Truck” Simpson remaining unbeaten by dominating Antonio Hernandez on his way to a unanimous decision. The Baltimore native, who is trained by Calvin Ford, won by scores of 59-55 three times, after six rounds of middleweight action.

Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING tripleheader will replay on Monday at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME.

An industry leading production team and announce crew delivered all the sights, sounds and drama from Barclays Center. Veteran broadcaster Brian Custer hosted the telecast, versatile combat sports voice Mauro Ranallo called the action ringside alongside Hall of Fame analyst Al Bernstein and former two-division world champion Paulie Malignaggi. Three Hall of Famers rounded out the SHOWTIME telecast team – Emmy® award winning reporter Jim Gray, unofficial ringside scorer Steve Farhood and world-renowned ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. The Executive Producer of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING was David Dinkins, Jr. and the Director was Bob Dunphy.

 

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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