By Sean Waisglass: Junior welterweight Francisco "Panchito" Bojado continued his successful campaign to re-establish himself as one of boxing's top prospects by winning a commanding ten round unanimous decision over Andre Eason on Saturday (May 8th) afternoon. The bout, which took place at the Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona, was televised by NBC.
Bojado, of Los Angeles, California, runs his record up to 16-1 (11 KO), while Eason, of Brooklyn, New York, falls to 14-3 (6 KO). The bout was contested slightly above-weight, with Bojado tipping the scales at 143, Eason 142.5.
Bojado, who has been training with Floyd Mayweather Sr., was working with a more-than-suitable replacement in Buddy McGirt. McGirt stepped in when Oscar De La Hoya, also trained by Mayweather, asked that Floyd Sr. work with him exclusively for his upcoming middleweight debut. NBC broadcaster Bob Papa commented that Mayweather and McGirt were in touch to smooth over the transition period.
Bojado notched another experience-building distance win over a capable and game challenger in beating Eason, whose only other losses are via majority decision to another prospect, Demetrius Hopkins in 2003, and an early-career four rounder. Eason is trained by Yoel Judah, father and trainer of Zab Judah.
After suffering his first loss and derailing his career when he came in to the ring out of shape for his February 2002 match against rugged vet Juan Carlos Rubio, Bojado rededicated himself to his craft. He avenged his loss to Rubio five fights later in November of 2003, when he redeemed himself over twelve dominant rounds. He followed that win up with another impressive and hard-fought victory over the dangerous Emmanuel Clottey - who had stopped 140lb Olympian prospect Mohamad Abdulaev seven months earlier - in January of this year.
Bojado's match with Eason was very similar to the Clottey bout, in that the young gun came out firing intense and brisk power shots at a rapid pace for the first third of the bout, seemed to have worn himself down during the middle, then reasserted himself over the last third.
The first three rounds against Eason saw a focused and fierce Bojado relentlessly pounding the New Yorker in a power-boxing style akin to early Shane Mosely, wherein every sharp, precise shot is thrown with bad intentions. The brave Eason wouldn't back down, but didn't have the power to keep Bojado off him. Bojado nailed the slightly shorter Eason with numerous cracking lead rights and bruising left hooks to the body at close and mid-range.
The game but light-hitting Eason was out-throwing Bojado, but the Mexican-American was landing more, and with harder shots. Bojado used short-step lateral movement to set up angles, and would duck or block to offset Eason' attacks.
Showing the effects of his energetic onslaught over the early rounds, Bojado looked a bit tired at the end of the fourth, allowing Eason to land some nice quick combos before the bell. Eason, bolstered by his brief success, picked up his pace a bit as the fight progressed. Bojado slowed his tempo down and circled the ring, trying to lead Eason in for counters.
Bojado stunned Eason one minute into the seventh, and seeing his opening, came alive and attacked the gutsy Brooklynite, who hung on and was given a brief respite to replace his mouthpiece. Bojado rocked him again with a hard lead right later in the round, but was too winded to follow up.
Eason got his legs back, and Bojado got his wind back, and so the two traded early in the ninth. Bojado fought in bursts while Eason tried to survive the power shots of his stronger foe. Bojado hurt Eason again late in the round with another lead right that followed a crunching left hook to the body.
Eason tried to stem Bojado's power-punching tide by letting his hands go in the tenth, but Bojado came on strong in the second half of the round despite the Eason's gallant efforts. Eason was able to land some overhand rights amidst his quick combos late in the round, but then suddenly, with only 18 seconds left in the bout, Bojado landed a perfect and crushing left hook to Eason's chin. Eason's mouthpiece dramatically flew up in the air as he fell back onto the canvas, and the tough son-of-a-gun flashed an embarrassed and obviously pained smile as he rose, took the count, and was saved from more punishment as the final bell rang.
Bojado - who landed 51% of his power shots - won by scores of 98/90 and 98/91 twice.
The future looks bright for both Bojado and fight fans, since 140 is fast becoming the most interesting division in boxing - possessing a wealth of talented contenders, entertaining gate-keepers, and promising up-and-comers. Bojado should be looking to follow in the steps of fellow junior welter prospect Miguel Cotto, who after a steady diet of solid wins, took the step up to 'contender' status with his victory over Lovemore N'Dou later that night.
TREJO BEATS JIMENEZ IN SUPPORT BOUT
On the undercard, New York-based Dominican Darling Jimenez suffered his second NBC-televised majority eight round loss, and fell to 17-2-2, while his conqueror, Fernando Trejo, a seasoned fighter out of Pachuca, Mexico raised his record to 23-7-4.
The two junior lightweights mixed it up non-stop at mid range and inside, utilizing every punch in the book. Trejo, who fights out of the same gym as the Marquez brothers, ultimately outworked the harder-hitting Jimenez in an exciting and fast-paced display of crisp, sharp boxing.
Trejo was at his best when making a habit of doubling and tripling up with left hooks to the head and body. Jiminez had his best success when he changed tactics in the later rounds and spent more time jabbing and sharp-shooting from the outside, but also did some good work when throwing quick multi-uppercut combos when battling inside.
The judges liked the busier hands of Trejo, and two of them thus scored the bout 78/74 for the Mexican, in contrast to the third, who thought Jimenez's harder shots evened things out at 76/76.