Favored prospects, contenders all victorious at the Mandalay Bay
By: Mike Sloan ringside in Las Vegas: Unbeaten light middleweight contender Phil Lo Greco obliterated opponent Brandon Hoskins in their duel; he scored an emphatic first round knockout. After a perfect counter left hook floored Hoskins early in the frame, Lo Greco followed that up with a sizzling right/left that dropped him again. Hoskins bravely climbed back to his feet, but he was quickly rescued by referee Jay Nady when Lo Greco pounced all over him, ending the fight officially at the 1:26 mark. Lo Greco, from Toronto, improved to 24-0 with his 13th KO and remains one of the sport’s best young contenders. Hoskins dropped to 16-2-1 with 8 KOs.
J Leon Love, a young super middleweight prospect from Dearborn Heights, Michigan, almost had an early night of work against Joseph de los Santos, but the Puerto Rican was able to withstand three early knockdowns (one in the second was inexplicably ruled a slip) and hang on for the allotted eight rounds. Love used his vast reach advantage and sneaky jabs to control the pace of the bout and coasted to an easy unanimous decision win. The official scores favored Love via tallies of 80-70 on all three cards, which allowed Love to bolster his pro ledger to 12-0 with 7 KOs. De los Santos plunged to 10-10-3 with 4 KOs.
Daquan Arnett, a promising young junior middleweight prospect from Orlando, Florida, was simply way too much for Eddie Cordova to handle. Arnett’s speed and power buried Cordova; he was dropped a total of three times in the fight (once in the first, twice in the second). Arnett used perfect counter punching to tag his opponent throughout, but it was a vicious left hook to the body that did the Clearfield, Utah fighter in. Cordova dropped to his knees when the body shot took his breath away and that’s where he stayed until after referee Vic Drakulich counted him out. The official time of the knockout came at 1:39 of the second round, allowing Arnett to rise to 5-0 with his third career stoppage. Cordova dipped to 3-3-1 with 1 KO.
Irish lightweight prospect Jamie Kavanagh was able to keep his unbeaten record intact with a workmanlike performance over the tough but out-gunned (and constantly coughing) Paul Velarde. Kavanagh, who fights out of Hollywood, CA, used a stiff jab and fierce body assault to offset most of what Velarde tried and coasted to a unanimous decision. All three ringside judges had Kavanagh pitching an eight round shutout; they had it 80-72, as did SecondsOut.com. With the win, Kavanagh moved to 11-0-1 with 5 KOs while Velarde, from Orange, CA, dropped to 3-2-3.
Young lightweight contender Abner Cotto, the cousin of Miguel Cotto, systematically broke down opponent Juan Manuel Montiel and eventually stopped him. The Caguas, Puerto Rico native used a superb jab and long reach to keep his Mexican foe at bay; he took his time in dismantling Montiel. As the rounds wore on, Montiel slowed down and his face grew more and more busted up. Finally in the eighth round, Cotto floored Montiel with a swift combination. Montiel battled back to his feet but he was dropped only a few moments later and, after being studied by referee Jay Nady, the fight was halted. The official time of the TKO came at 1:03 of the eighth round, allowing young Cotto to improve to 14-0 with 6 KOs. For his efforts, the tough Montiel fell to 7-6-3 with 2 KOs.
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