By Jason Pribila: The PBC hung its banner above the ring in the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia on Friday evening. The main event featured teen-age knockout artist David Benavidez (16-0, 15 KO) who broke down the game but limited Denis “Momma’s Boy” Douglin (20-5, 13 KO) in the tenth and final round of their super middleweight bout.
Benavidez showed tremendous patience and poise for a 19 year old who was fighting in his first main event over 2,000 miles from home.
Benavidez had to deal with more than butterflies, as Douglin attacked out of the southpaw stance. Rather than circling, Douglin tried to smother the power of his foe. While the strategy was sound, Douglin may not have been equipped to carry out that mission. Each time he was hit cleanly, he was hurt, and we were reminded that he was stopped in three of his previous four defeats.
Prior to the fight, analyst Teddy Atlas described Benavidez as a fighter who threw punches with “bad intentions”. To his credit, Benavidez did not go for broke when he would sting Douglin. He instead conserved his energy and waited for the knockout to come to him.
His patience paid off when he landed a double left uppercut that sent Douglin to the canvas, where he should have stayed. By beating the count, Douglin earned himself a minute to recover between rounds. He got some tough love at a moment when he could have used some mercy from his mother and father, who serve as Douglin’s lead and co-trainers. Rather than compassion, he received a tongue lashing before being sent back out to take more punishment.
When the bell rang Benavidez attached. He forced Douglin to the ropes where he landed a barrage of punches until the fight was officially stopped 35 seconds into round ten.
For Benavidez this was mission accomplished. He’s mature beyond his years, and he proved he could carry his power deep into fights. There is no doubt the PBC will print his name on many future marquees.
In the televised opener, lightweight contender Alejandro Luna (21-0, 15 KO) remained undefeated by outpointing late-replacement, Naim Nelson(13-2, 1KO) by scores of 99-91, 98-92, and 97-93.
Late-replacements are not new to the sport, especially when the opportunity to fight in front of a nationally televised audience is at stake. A fighter will sacrifice the fact that he/she did not have the opportunity to complete a full training camp for money and exposure. In this particular case, Nelson also had to sacrifice the dessert he was about to enjoy with his family.
Fortunately for Nelson he was in the gym preparing for a different fight on the same card. Fortunately for Luna he was facing an opponent with only one career number after 14 professional bouts.
Luna was the aggressor throughout the bout. Nelson showed good movement as he attempted to catch Luna on his way in. The problem with the game plan is that It would illustrate the limitations of Nelson’s game. His lack of power failed to deter Luna from coming forward, and when his single shots landed cleanly, Luna walked thru them.
While Nelson came up short, he will not be remembered as being the loser on this evening. That harsh label will be worn by Stephen Ormond for some time. Ormond (21-2, 11KO) was Luna’s original opponent. However, he showed up in Philadelphia with no intentions of fighting. When he stepped on the scale he was 5 lbs. over the lightweight limit.
When Ormond returned to the scale two hours after his first failed attempt, he was 7 lbs heavier. I guess Ormond chose cheesesteak over sauna. However, rather than deciding between Pat’s or Geno’s, he chose both.
While we don’t know what caused this unprofessional behavior from Ormond, we do know that he jeopardized a televised fight card under Al Haymon’s banner. While one could only speculate about what was going on inside of Team Ormond, we do know that you don’t want to make the man with the monopoly on TV dates upset.
The PBC on ESPN will wrap up their Summer Season next Friday night.
Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He could be reached for questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.