The undercard of Pacquiao – Rios featured a pair of Top Rank’s top prospects in six round showcase bouts. Both Zou Shiming and Felix Verdego won each round that was contested, but neither was able to close the show before the final bell rang.
Shiming (3-0) remained perfect as a professional, but this was the first time that he fought like a professional, rather than the decorated amateur that won 2 Olympic Gold medals.
Shiming dominated from the opening bell. He fought aggressively, and sat down on his punches. His work with Freddie Roach and rings sparred with Manny Pacquiao seemed to make a difference in his approach.
Shiming opened a bad gash under the right eye of Juan Tozcano (4-1, 1KO) early and battered him until the final bell. The referee had several chances to wave the fight off, and reward Shiming with his first stoppage, but Tozcano never gave up and survived.
Shiming finishes 2013 a perfect 3-0, and he will no doubt be featured when Top Rank returns to China in February, 2014.
In the televised opener Felix Verdejo (9-0, 6 KO) showed the world why the island of Puerto is convinced he will be their next superstar. Verdejo displayed his entire offensive arsenal against the game but limited Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan (8-2, 1KO).
Verdejo remained poised as Duanaaymukdahan came out of his corner aggressively. Counter lefts and jabs kept him out of harm’s way. The speed differential was displayed as Verdejo began to throw combinations.
Verdejo seemed to hurt Duanaaymukdahan for the first time in the second round with a huge right hand. Duanaaymukdahan took the punches well and began playing for the crowd that he was able to remain on his feet.
The fight fell into a pattern until Verdejo landed a vicious uppercut in round four. He caused Duanaaymukdahan to turn his back and retreat to the corner. Again, he weathered the storm and made it through the round.
The final bell came, and the scores illustrated the action that took place. Verdejo won by shutout 60-53 across the board. The talented Puerto Rican remained undefeated and unscathed, which should keep his next bout on schedule for December 14.
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 and followed on twitter.com @PribsBoxing