Jab Hook's Epilogue for the Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, January 13th, 2019
In the co-main event, we saw what a mean boxer Brandon “The Heart Breaker” Figueroa really is. Not satisfied with utilizing his reach advantage and slick combinations, he again chose to fight in a phone booth. Moises “Chucky” Flores should have hung up, and called back long-distance.
With wonderful inside footwork and bumping tricks, Figueroa turned Flores and ripped him to the body consistently. “The Heart Breaker” shifted coming forward, landing shots from both stances. Brandon hurt “Chucky” early, then broke him down quickly in a wonderful display combining boxing and power. Figueroa was in a hurry to end it quickly and took some damage to his left eye along the way. Such defensive lapses would be costly against any future top-ranked featherweight. Jab picked the winner, but thought the stoppage would be much later in the bout.
No cute, little, performance from Figueroa was going to steal the show from Caleb “Sweethands” Plant.
It was Plant's night of boxing history, his main event, his career comeback, and now his IBF super middleweight title. The unending pain of losing his baby daughter Alia can never be compensated for inside the ring. But the man without a Plan B, has achieved his life's dream at 26 years old and will be able to better provide for his family.
Jab hopes that gives him comfort, because “Sweethands” did not just take the belt, he dominated an absent Jose Uzcategui, who seemed to have lost his jab in the dressing room.
Over trained, underweight, sluggish and distracted, poor “Bolivita” did not get any help from his corner during the bout. Between rounds, trainer Jose Cital failed to advise his boxer on how to compensate for Plant's fast start. No new tactics, no clear plan, while round after round went to the superior boxer, Caleb Plant. The poor corner communication got even worse after the 8th round when Cital shot instructions as “Bolivita” sat, then he asked “Are you OK, sure?…You're OK, OK? … Are you sure, you're OK, sure?”
What did Cital hope to achieve by demoralizing his guy like that? Where was the support, the sense of confidence, purpose, and plan that ought to come from a boxer's trainer?
That corner was lonely place for Jose Uzcategui to be, 7 rounds behind on the scorecards with only 4 more to fight, getting outclassed by Caleb Plant. Smiling as he was losing, maybe Uzcategui thought he could nail him with a KO shot eventually. But his lack of concentration and punching accuracy during most of the bout made a “Hail Mary” shot even less likely to land. Like Plant, Uzcategui also lost a young daughter when he himself was just 16 years old. No big win to console him, no belt to take home. The drive home to Mexico will be a long one.
Congratulations to the new IBF Champion Caleb Plant, whose amazing display of exceptional boxing skills made Jab's pick look ridiculous in hindsight. Thanks for the lesson in boxing “Sweethands”.
Jab Hook's 2019 predictions: 4 of 5 correct on January 13th = 80%
(2018: 92 of 112 correct = 82.1%, to date 96 of 117 correct = 82.1%)
Jab Hook”, aka “Brooklyn” Joe Healy is a boxing expert commentator for DAZN.de, a professional cutman from the BOXWERK gym, and a licensed referee/judge in amateur boxing. A lifelong aficionado born in Brooklyn and living in Munich, “The Sweet Science” is his passion. Please feel free to contact him as Jab Hook on FaceBook, at [email protected], or on Twitter https://twitter.com/BoxAficionado