PBC on FOX ran their preliminary fights on FS1 Saturday afternoon to draw up some buzz and get those to hit the purchase button prior to the start of the main event, Manny Pacquiao against Yordenis Ugas, the Fighting Senator versus the Bionic Bicep.
In case you missed 'em, here is a recap of those fights along with the ones that were not televised.
Jose Valenzuela (8-0) vs. Donte Strayhorn (12-3)
This fight opened the FOX card that went on earlier in the day. Jose Valenzuela, who is trained by Jose Benavidez Sr., father of David Benavidez, opened the event up by giving a nice display of fancy combinations and speed from the southpaw stance. In the first round, Valenzuela had Strayhorn buzzed, but ran out of time in the round to try and finish him. In the second round, it was the straight left and left hook to the body which was working for Jose and breaking down Donte.
Jose kept breaking down Donte with vicious shots to the body and you could see it was taking a toll on Strayhorn as he spit his mouthpiece out late in that round. In the fourth, Valenzuela continued with his pressure and the referee saw enough to stop the fight. Jose Valenzuela won by a fourth round TKO.
Steven Torres (4-0) vs. Justin Rolfe (6-2-1)
The always entertaining heavyweight division was on display as the young Steven Torres came into the ring with a ton of confidence. You could just see that he was ready to perform and take care of his opponent as soon as possible. In the beginning of round one, Torres established the straight right hand and it immediately started to give Rolfe some problems. Rolfe made some adjustments and tried smothering the 6’7 Torres but that was short lived. Torres started to load up with a left hook after landing one straight right hand after another. The referee called a halt to the action as he felt Rolfe was taking too much punishment. Steven Torres won by first round TKO.
Frank Martin (13-0) vs. Ryan Kielczweski (30-5)
The special attraction of this FOX card featured undefeated Frank Martin, who is trained by Derrick James, trainer of Errol Spence Jr and Jermell Charlo. Martin made something clear right from the start and that is he means business in that ring. From the very start, it was a very effective and concentrated body attack which was led by a right hook. When Martin landed the right hook to the body in the first round, Kielczweski paused for a second, took a deep breath followed by a few steps back.
That’s when I knew he did not like that punch not one bit. Martin’s offense was consistently going from north to south meaning he had a balanced attack. Kielczweski had his moments, but it was a dominant performance by the young Martin. In the end, all three judges agreed and saw this one 100-90 for Frank Martin. Put him on your radar if he isn’t already.
Burley Brooks (6-2) vs. Cameron Rivera (9-6-3)
This fight opened the non-televised card that was being streamed on the PBC on FOX social media platforms. This was a club show type of fight as both men didn’t really do anything to separate themselves from each other when it came to talent level. Brooks established his jab early but wasn’t consistent with it. Rivera was having success to the body and countering well but couldn’t put his punches together. Most of the fight was Rivera bringing a Shawn Porter type of pressure to Brooks. After six of the same rounds, the judges saw this one 58-56 for Rivera, 59-55 for Brooks and the last card reflected 57-57 making this fight a split draw.
Mikel Spencer (Pro Debut) vs. Eliseo Villalobos (1-1)
It was the pro debut of young lightweight Mikel Spencer, adopted brother of Joey Spencer. Like most, he came out fired up and full of energy. Fast combinations were landing, and it seemed as if Villalobos wasn’t prepared for that type of speed. In the third round when things slowed down a bit, Villalobos started to work and get some hard counter shots on Spencer which stopped him in his tracks a few times. In the last round, Spencer landed a huge left that rocked Villalobos. As Spencer went in for the stoppage, he ran out of time and the bell rang signaling the end of the fight. It went to the cards and all three judges saw this one 40-36 for Mikel Spencer as he picks up his first victory.
John Dato (14-0-1) vs. Angel Contreras (10-4-2)
The last bout prior to the start of the PPV featured two featherweights, with one being a fighter under the MP Promotions, banner which was John Dato. In the first round, Dato was landing a clean overhand right, which seemed like Contreras did not see coming each time. Dato continued this in the second but in the third, Contreras being patient, struck like a Cobra and landed a huge right uppercut sending Dato to the canvas. Rounds four through six saw some back-and-forth action but in spurts.
In the seventh round, Contreras was hurting Dato to the body and the end seemed near. But Dato showed his warrior spirit and came back towards the end of round seven. Round eight was full of action as Contreras was landing hard body shots and just went it seemed Dato was fading. He would come back and have Contreras hurt from an overhand right. The fight went to the scorecards, with two of the judges seeing this one 77-74 and the last one scored it 78-73 for Angel Contreras.
My Three Cents
The FOX preliminary cards showcased three prospects in an arena with no fans. This was probably done on purpose as it gave the FOX crew an opportunity to tweak any production items prior to the start of the PPV. Once the fans were allowed in the building, there were a few more fights that occurred to get the juices flowing for the fans in attendance.
What I got out of these fights were two things: Keep an eye on heavyweight Steven Torres and lightweight Frank Martin.