Fighters are told not to press for the KO, to let it come to them. However, pragmatic thinking also informs them that in some cases, when they are the out of town guy, the less politically connected, gunning for a KO is the wise course of planning.
Frank Galarza and I discussed the need to get a win by that decisive means leading up to his Vegas clash against Ishe Smith, and the Brooklyn Rocky knew the score. Smith lives in Vegas and is promoted by Floyd Mayweather, who staged the BOUNCE show.
Frank Galarza didn't KO Smith, and didn't win.
Here's an exchange I had with Frank's trainer, Nirmal Lorick, the morning after.
Here is the release which went out after the show:
Ishe Smith Scores Majority Decision Over Frank Galarza In The Premier Boxing Champions on Bounce Main Event From The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Justin DeLoach Scores Unanimous Decision Over Domonique Dolton
Jose Cayetano Defeats Alexis Santiago Via Unanimous Decision In Televised Opener
Las Vegas (Sept. 16) – The first Las Vegas born world champion, Ishe “Sugar Shay” Smith (29-8, 12 KOs) defeated Frank “Notorious” Galarza (17-2-2, 11 KOs) via majority decision in his hometown from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC): The Next Round on Bounce TV.
“I had to dig deep. This was the first time in a very long time I had to dig deep,” said Smith of his victory. “They kept telling me in my corner that its was close. He came to win, but in the end I got the victory.”
Smith and Galarza used the first round to feel each other out, but the action picked up in the second as Smith threw a straight right hand that dropped Galarza to the canvas.
“He caught me off balance and it turned out to be a knockdown. I think that made the difference in the whole fight honestly.”
Galarza came back swinging in the fourth, pressing Smith against the ropes with a tight combination of punches. Smith controlled the fifth round throwing hard blows to the body of Galarza followed by a hard left hook to end the round. The tides turned in the seventh round as Galarza pinned Smith against the ropes with a flurry of body punches. But it was the tenth and final round that sealed a win for Smith as he land punch after punch. Judges saw the bout 95-95, 96-93 and 95-94.
“Young guys feel like I'm old. They like to apply pressure, but I set him up with the traps. I got comfortable in the middle rounds he turned it up a gear and applied pressure I wasn't ready for,” continued Smith. “It took me a round or two to get adjusted, once I got adjusted I thought I did real well and was able to close the show. I was surprised in the 95-95 and 95-94, I was thinking wow if I didn't get that knockdown it may have swayed his way for the victory.
“Training with the best like Floyd, Bernard Hopkins, it has allowed me to learn. I have learned so much from the greatest fighter in the world, and pick up something from each of them. I am thankful I was able to pick up a lot along the way in my career.”
Galarza felt as though he had to do much more to get the win.
“I'm in his hometown, Vegas, its his promotion. Those little slip ups were going to cost me the fight. I had to be active, be in his chest, stay busy. There were moments where I was doing that, but I let some of it go at times.
“I think the knockdown made me want to press on the gas and start pushing. He is awkward. He's wide. He's all over the place and I didn't want to get hit with any silly punches.
“It happens. It's one of those things where we have to go back to the drawing board and we will be back at it again.”
The co-main event featured a pair of super welterweight prospects that produced exciting two-way action from the first bell. Detroit's Domonique Dolton (17-1-1, 9 KOs) stalked Justin Deloach around the ring, but it was Augusta, Georgia's Justin DeLoach's (16-1, 8 KOs) superior boxing ability and effective counterpunching that made the difference. Midway through the fight, a wide cut opened on the bridge of Dolton's nose, providing an extra target for DeLoach.
“The cut was from a prior fight, and I just wanted to get back in the ring as soon as possible,” said Dolton. “Allowing him to get so many shots in, opened the cut. I can't blame anyone but myself in this fight.”
“I am disappointed in my performance; I didn't fight a smart fight. I fought his fight, I wasn't using my mind in this fight. I was looking for that big shot. Trying to set up a shot the whole fight that I lost sight and didn't fight smart. I should have been using my jab more, when I had the opportunity to go in on him, I didn't take it like I should have. Overall I just need to continue what Im doing and get back to my training.
Despite the unanimous decision win where the judges scored the bout 96-94, 98-92 and 99-91, DeLoach also was unimpressed with his own performance.
“I made it way tougher for myself than I should have. I should have used my legs more and listened to my corner,” said DeLoach. “I am not satisfied with my performance even though I got the W.I didn't stay focused enough. Domonique is a tough opponent and I should have stuck to the game plan.
“I'm not going to call out any names because I'm just not happy with my performance,” continued DeLoach. “I am going to be back in the gym on Monday and work on the things I need to fix before thinking about fighting again.”
The opening bout of the telecast saw Jose Cayetano (20-4, 9 KOs) kick off Mexican Independence Day Weekend with a lot to celebrate. The Tijuana native defeated 25-year-old Alexis Santiago (21-3-1, 8 KOs) via unanimous decision, ending the Phoenix-native's 10-fight win streak. The 10-round super bantamweight bout started slow, but the action picked up in the fifth when Cayetano connected with a sharp right hook, causing Santiago to buckle, but not fall.
At the start of the bell in the seventh round, Santiago forced Cayetano against the ropes, throwing a flurry of punches. Santiago landed a hard right hook mid-way through the ninth round, causing the largely pro-Santiago crowd to cheer. The fight finished strong with both fighters swinging for the fences, exchanging hard blows bringing the crowd to their feet. 97-93, 96-94 2X.
“Santiago started out strong but as the rounds went on, he got less and less so,” said Cayetano. “The fifth round was when I knew I really had him and it continued from there. Even though he landed some shots, he never hurt me.
“I want to fight Leo Santa Cruz in a rematch next. That is the fight I really want. Two Mexican warriors at it again.”
“This was the worst performance of my career,” said Santiago. “I could have done everything better. I wasn't able to find myself during the fight. I usually am able to, but this time it was hard for me.”