San Antonio, Texas—-After the Vergil Ortiz-Elimantas Stanionis bout cancelation, the Golden Boy Promotions card was forced to do some shuffling. That led to Floyd “Kid Austin” Schofield v Haskell Rhodes taking the main event spot at AT&T Center Saturday night.
Despite the obvious disappointment for fight fans eager to see the anticipated welterweight showdown, the Texas crowd was hungry for boxing action.
This was Schofield’s chance to take full advantage of the main event stage as GBP showed confidence in the 14-0 fighter from Austin, TX to put on a show.
It was a tough position to be in, but it was also an opportunity to advance his career live at the AT&T Center—home of the San Antonio Spurs.
Referee James Green of Houston, Texas was charged with officiating the main event action.
Schofield, who is trained by Ronnie Shields, defended his WBA International lightweight title against Las Vegas native Rhodes.
Schofield showcased his speed in round 1, delivering a snapping straight right that Rhodes was lined up for, ultimately sending him back and into the ropes.
Schofield was able to close the gap quickly and do damage to his opponent without staying in his opponent’s firing range.
At times, it felt like Schofield, who never used a stool throughout the round breaks, was in complete control and just biding his time before turning up the heat for the stoppage.
He kept an athletic balance that allowed for him to tee off at will while never putting himself in danger.
In and out, Schofield worked laterally to put himself in position to land a fierce left hook.
The 20-year-old possess a statuesque physique, and at such a young age it is difficult to assess how long the young man will remain at lightweight as he enters his next level of development.
Rhodes was not without offense of his own, and the shorter fighter was able to get low and come over the top to land his right hand, but it offered little opposition to “Kid Austin.”
The fight got a bit more physical in the 5th as Rhodes realized that Schofield was furthering the gap, but he just did not have the answer.
In the 7th round, Schofield was able to do the most damage of any round and came very close to stopping Rhodes.
He landed a left hand that floored Rhodes, sending him to the canvas. The left was able to cause so much damage because of a right that Schofield landed to set his opponent up.
Rhodes would beat the count, and that is when Schofield really went to work.
He went hard after the stoppage and was able to score the 2nd knockdown of the round after being hurt and losing his footing moments later.
Perhaps the knockdown could’ve been ruled a slip, but an additional 8 seconds of rest was presumably more valuable than the point it cost him.
Schofield was now in full control heading into the 9th, and chants of “knock him out” erupted from the Texas crowd thirsty to see a stoppage, something no one on the televised card could offer up on the evening.
In the 9th round, Rhodes caught Schofield with a vicious headbutt that caused him to hit the canvass.
Fans reacted with boos after the ref called it a “no-knockdown,” but replay clearly showed it was not a punch that caused Schofield to hit the mat.
However, the damage was done after a huge gash was opened up under Schofield’s left eye.
The cut was bad enough that the ref had the ringside doc take a look at it, but since it was not bleeding into the eye he let the final round commence.
Schofield used the opportunity to hype up the crowd, motioning that he was not willing to end the fight—he had a point to make.
He was unable to get the stoppage, but the heart he showed to continue and the fan-work he displayed was certainly worth something. The judges turned in the score of 100-87 all the way around, giving Schofield the unanimous decision in a near flawless victory.
The knockdown may have looked good on his resume and tomorrow’s coverage, but he was in able to excite the fans and put on a show void of competitive action.
“I still got one more round to go, I told the ref, ‘I’m good to go.’ He did that on purpose,” Schofield said in the post-fight interview. “I ain’t gonna lie, my head hurts. He’s a tough opponent.”
Schofield acknowledged his opponent’s toughness and thanked him.
Schofield called out Keyshawn Davis after the fight and in the ring, prompting cheers from the Texas crowd.
Joseph Diaz win UD10 over Jerry Perez; Judges Scores: 97-93 X2 and 98-92
The evening’s co-feature pitted former Olympian Joseph “Jojo” Diaz, who was 6lbs overweight on the scales, took on Jerry Perez (14-2-1, 11KOs) of Harbor City, CA.
Perez was warned to keep his punches up in the back-half of the very first round, but he fought with confidence and seemed target the body of Diaz, which did look a bit soft after he weighed in at 141.5lbs—the heaviest he has every weighed for a prize fight.
Diaz caught Perrez in the 2nd and managed to wobble him.
To Perez’s credit, he was not shy about letting his own right hand go, especially from the inside, but Diaz’s offensive work in that round was more well-rounded.
It was definitely a pro-Diaz crowd, but Perez had fans in the building as chants of “Jerry” rang out throughout the arena.
The encouragement may have helped his spirits, but Diaz was still in control and when he put his offense together there was little resistance from Perez.
In the opening moments of the 5th, Diaz put together a beautiful 3 punch combo to the head, body and then back up top that set the scene.
Diaz would land one of the biggest right hands of the night, prompting a possibly frustrated Perez to pick his opponent up and off his feet
Unlike his 2012 Olympic teammate, Marlene Esparza, who used both offense and defense in the fight prior to Diaz, Jojo was much more focused on his offense.
In fact, he used his offense as defense by eating shots to remain in position to dish out his own.
Perez was able to rebound a bit in the 6th, offering up his own head-body-head combos, but Diaz has a master poker face and seemed unfazed.
Diaz put together offensive sequences that felt like he was closing in on a stoppage, or at least that was the feeling from the live crowd thirsty to see Jojo get the stoppage.
Diaz relied heavy on the inside work, but he found an opening to the body which he exploited with a straight right to the solar plexus, and that punch could’ve taken the sting out of Perez’s punch as Diaz seemed fully willing to endure Perez’s offense.
A 9th round sequence from Diaz showed the levels as he parried Perez’s hook and then landed his own over the top, and then he closed the gap quickly to tee off to the body.
He closed that round strong by taking angles and exploiting his best range over Perez.
The 10th started with a show of respect as both fighters touched gloves in acknowledgment of the grueling nature of their fight. The respect faded out quickly as both men threw digging shots at one another.
Perez showed some of his best work through 10, and he targeted the left side of Diaz’s body. Diaz did not falter and quickly took momentum back off of a 3-punch combo up top.
They closed the show throwing punches till the final bell and the judges turned in the scores of 97-93 twice and 98-92.
Marlene Esparza win MD10 over Gabriela Alaniz, retains WBC, WBA, & WBO flyweight titles; Judges scores: 95-95, 99-91, and 97-93
The crowd was in full appreciation for their unified female flyweight champion and Houston, Texas’ own Marlene Esparza as she defended her WBC, WBA, and WBO titles against Argentina’s undefeated Gabriela Alaniz.
Both women came out of round one with little desire to ‘feel-out’ and the leather was being served up quick.
Esparza picked her spots well, but she did seem a little jittery with her movement early.
Alaniz, to her credit, did not seem overwhelmed or uncomfortable being the road fighter.
Alaniz used pressure to prevent Marlene from catching a rhythm, and it seemed like she was prepared to let her hands go whenever she was in range, but the champ showed off her defensive prowess to close out round three.
In round 4, Esparza was able to control range better than her opponent and she was also more tactical—picking her shots as opposed to Alaniz’s punches in bunches approach. This fight script led to diverse opinions at press-row.
Heading into the midpoint of the fight, Esparza was now fully aware of fight script and she did a better job of staying inside of her opponent’s punching zone.
Still, Esparza was cut on her left temple, and while replay showed a hook from Alaniz that landed on the same area as the cut, the quick in-and-out style is a recipe for headbutts.
Esparza’s confidence was building as she landed one of the hardest shots of the fight in the 6th and closed out that very same round showcasing her movement and defense, causing Alaniz to whiff away the last 10 seconds.
Punch stats gave an accurate accounting of the fight script as Alaniz landed more punches because she was throwing more punches, but Esparza was more accurate—enjoying a 10% advantage in accuracy over her opponent through 6 rounds.
Esparza started the 9th by landing an overhand right that landed, causing Alaniz to start the round in ‘get back’ mode.
The former Olympic bronze medalist at the 2012 London Games was now showing levels of separation between her game and that of Alaniz.
Both women came out swinging to start the 10th and final round of the championship match.
Alaniz stuck to her strategy while Marlen worked to create damage in her offense.
Both fighters finished strong and unwilling to back down, but ultimately the judges would decide the winner by scores of 95-95, 99-91, and 97-93 in favor of Esparza who retained her title via MD10.
The action got started around 6PM CT inside the very cool AT&T Center, in direct contrast to the scorching San Antonio, Texas heat, and the non-televised portion of the card featured the big boys in the cruiser and heavyweight divisions.
Former member of the U.S. National team, Darius Fulghum, 5-0 with as many KO’s as wins heading into his bout with Jeremiah Cutright (13-9, 10KOs) of Saint Charles, MO.
Fulghum weighed in at 176.5 to Cutright’s 178.5lbs.
Darius Fulghum showed up on Saturday to hurt someone to the body and head and anywhere else he wanted as he earned the 3rd round stoppage over his opponent, Jeremiah Cutright.
Fulghum, who is now 6-0 with 6 stoppages, made the short trip from Houston to open the Golden Boy Promotions non-televised opener.
In the final bout of the preliminaries, the very long heavyweight Tristan Kalkreuth stopped Joe Jones of Jersey City, NJ.
Jones came in with 10KOs to Kalkreuth’s 7KOs, but it was Duncanville, Texas’ own that brought the power, scoring 2 knockdowns before securing the win with a beautiful right hand that forced Jones to take a knee. The referee would wave off the bout seconds later (2:12 in the 2nd round).
In the opening bout of the televised portion of the card, Eric Tudor of Fort Lauderdale, FL fought Reggie Harris JR (Ann Arbor, MI).
The bout was fought at super middleweight despite Tudor officially weighing in at 154.5lbs. Jr came in at 162.5 on the scales, thus the 168lb placement, though at this stage things like this happen.
Harris was the shorter fighter, but his weight was accounted for in his broad shoulders and muscular frame.
Tudor scored a knockdown in round one off a right hand. His corner liked what they saw and gave instructions to use it at will.
Tudor put his uppercut together off of the left-handed jab well, but it was the right hand from mid-range that had his corner certain the fight would not last all 8 scheduled rounds.
Harris was able to sneak his left hand in from that same mid-range, but his power offered little restiance to his undefeated opponent as Tudor was willing to just take the shot in an effort to set up his own offense. But he had the range to completely stay out of Harris’s offensive zone.
After having his mouth piece knocked out in the 3rd, Harris attempted to press in the 4th, putting Tudor’s back against the ropes.
Tudor fought with left lead very low—perhaps a sign of him gaining confidence.
However, the 4th ended up beingHarris’s best round to that point in the fight as he successfully let off a multi-punch combo with Tudor’s back to the ropes and his guard high.
What seemed to be Tudor’s advantage, the height and reach over his opponent, became a bit of a hindrance as Harris’s low stature allowed him inside of Tudor’s guard and outside his most dangerous punching range.
In fact, heading into the 6th, Tudor was leaking from the nose—three rounds after he managed to open up the blood faucet on Harris, but Harris was able to hold on and change the momentum.
By the end of the 6th, Harris was ecstatic with his performance, jumping up and down in excitement following the success he found.
The stage was set in the 7th for some back-and-forth action as both men felt victory closing in, and Tudor began to pick up his pace and started the round in great form. However, Harris was unwilling to follow the expected fight script and he fought back by dropping low and squaring up—delivering hooks with both hands that clearly affected Tudor.
The fight made it to the 8th, and off the back of the best round and crowd support, neither side could afford to take the foot off the gas.
The fans were in appreciation at the end of the round, which saw Tudor with his back to the ropes and Harris letting the leather fly. But Tudor did do solid body work in the round, but he made the mistake of letting the shorter opponent on the inside.
The judges scored the bout 77-74 and 78-73 twice in favor of Tudor, and the competitive nature of the bout led fans in the arena to boo the decision.