Friday Night Knockout on Tru TV was back in action from Puerto Rico with a card featuring the future star of the island Felix Verdejo, and a super bantamweight championship fight for a vacant belt.
The main event did not last very long, with Felix Verdejo (19-0, 14 Kos) putting on yet another impressive performance, knocking out Josenilson Dos Santos (27-4, 17 KOs) in the second round with an absolutely sensational straight right hand that wobbled the Brazilian and ultimately sent him down.
Verdejo was very cautious in the opening round, not leaving himself open to get countered. The second round he came out in a similar fashion, before landing the punch that ended the fight with forty seconds left in the second.
The knockout was so impressive, due to the fact that he did not hurt Dos Santos before that: all the damage was done with one punch, an absolute detonator that left his hometown fans jumping for joy.
Dos Santos got up from the brutal shot he received, but he clearly did not have his legs or wits about him, and the ref wisely waved an end to the contest, saving him from even further punishment.
Dos Santos came into the fight with a solid record, but had not fought since October of 2014, but had lost two of his last three fights coming into tonight’s bout. Verdejo will require another step up in his next fight as he seems more than ready for one.
In the first fight of the night, we saw an absolute war between Nonito Donaire (36-3, 23 KOs) and Cesar Juarez (17-4, 13 KOs) for a vacant WBO super bantamweight title. This fight was a chance for former champion Donaire to recapture glory and to get his career back on track.
The fight and the vacant belt was won by Nonito Donaire by scores of 117-109 and 116-110X2. This was a fight of the year candidate (despite the candidates already being announced for this year) and the scores do not indicate how close and competitive the fight was.
Donaire came out firing, landing three significant power punches almost simultaneously with the opening bell. He won the first two rounds with ease, doing what he does best: countering and mixing his punches effectively, especially landing solid lefts to the body.
The drama picked up towards the closing seconds of the third round. Juarez, after not doing much through the first three rounds, seemed to hurt Donaire with a barrage of punches. However, Juarez’s success was short lived, as Donaire did not waste much time to get his vengeance in the fourth round.
Donaire came out painting Juarez with shots. A straight right by Donaire stunned Juarez and sent him backwards. Nonito tried to follow up with a knockout punch, but he missed, tripped over Juarez, as they both fell to the canvas.
This was incorrectly ruled a knockdown by the referee. Nevertheless, it counted, and Donaire followed that up with a beautiful left hook that sent Juarez down into the ropes for the second time in the round.
Despite Juarez taking solid punishment through the first part of the fight, he remained composed and never seemed badly hurt. As a result of Juarez’s resilience, Donaire seemed to wear down after scoring the two knockdowns.
Juarez started to walk Donaire down, and all of the sudden, something happened that changed the way the fight. Nonito backed away from the action at the end of the fifth round and appeared too slipped out of the picture.
Donaire got up from this slip extremely gimpy. It was difficult to tell whether it was his knee or his ankle, but it definitely seemed to limit his mobility. Donaire’s left eye also seemed to be closing shut as the fight wore on.
The seventh and eighth rounds were both round of the year candidates with “The Filipino Flash” taking heavy damage. Juarez throughout the second half of the fight was the aggressor, and never showed any signs of slowing down.
Juarez’s work rate during the latter stages of the fight just showed how much he really wanted this fight. He also appeared to knock Donaire down in the 11th round with a left, but it was ruled a slip and no knockdown, the second time in the fight referee made an incorrect ruling pertaining to a knockdown, both benefiting Donaire.
The victor of the fight wound up being Nonito, despite sitting against the ropes and taking punishment for much of the second half of the fight. The amount of blood on both men and the referee afterwards was astonishing, and it was truly a special fight between two tough, passionate warriors.
ThaBoxingVoice scored the fight 114-112 for Juarez, having him winning almost every round in the second half of the fight. It was not a robbery, just a case of wide scorecards for a fight that could have gone either way.
The card from Puerto Rico on Tru TV was an exciting one to watch, with a fight of the year candidate in the opening bout, and seeing a possible future star of the sport score an awesome one punch knockout in the main event.