With his face covered in his own blood, James "Spider" Webb brutalized Emmanuel Steward's charge Jose Celaya in the eighth round to produce a shuddering end to a hotly contest ESPN main event on Friday Night Fights from the Civic Auditorium in San Jose, California.
Tough guy welterweights Jose Celaya, 26-2 (16), and ex-marine James "Spider" Webb, 17-0 (15) had promised that their fight was a stepping stone to bigger things in a division quickly heating up. Celaya, from Salinas, California, hoped to reverse his welterweight demise to Eddie Sanchez and make his way to the level of an Antonio Margarito on the world stage. The humble "Spider" Webb admitted he was coming up in class, though he was eager to prove himself in this televised contest.
Southpaw Celaya switched up to orthodox and back in the first round as Webb pressed and jabbed trying to rough up Celaya early. Prone to cuts, Webb matched up jabs with Celaya, also pushing his punches, while keeping his hands constantly moving. Angling away and looking to drop counters, Celaya avoided most of the best shots thrown by Webb in the first frame. For sheer punch output, you have to admire a fighter willing and able, especially at age 32, to throw nearly 200 punches in the first round, as if doing his natural thing in the ring.
Webb has long arms; but, Celaya has the better counter punches with Webb forcing things with pace and sheer determination. Good exchanges had the fans rocking at the end of the second round, with Celaya's blows hitting the target of Webb's head with clean effectiveness. Webb's straight punches and all out aggression was effectively negated by Celaya's turning movement and hard counters to the body of the former marine. Undaunted, "Spider" Webb just kept coming and punching, always searching and anxious to hit any legal part of the opponent in front of him. However with Celaya beginning to land hard counters, Webb began over reaching at times and flat out missing many openings.
Then with one second left in the fourth round, a round in which Celaya had out boxed Webb, a whistling, long range right hand dropped Celaya. Celaya made it to his corner only to be lectured by a suddenly concerned Steward about relaxing and fighting his fight. Pressing from the start of the fifth, predictably, Webb tried to smother and hammer Celaya with a blizzard of punches, as he shouldered and pushed in on a retreating Celaya. The fighters exchange wildly, with Webb trying to make the fight all about guts and attrition, draining the technical elements out of the fight. Almost predictably, Webb was cut over the left eye via a clash of heads in a furious fifth.
As both men mashed and smashed each other in the sixth, Celaya came out of the sixth with a cut over his right eye. But Celaya's quick handed counters ripped up Webb until the very end of the seventh when Webb landed a hard combination at the bell. Fatigue from the fight's torrent pace began to grip Celaya, who appeared all but limp on the ropes as his corner came out to retrieve him for the one minute respite.
The wild action had the crowd screaming. Another big right hand droped Celaya pulling straight out of an exchange 48 seconds of the eighth. Sensing a knockout was his for the taking/making Webb just stormed into Celaya, once he was up, with the ex-marine simply overwhelming the California boxer. In the end, as proven over the final three rounds, the fight was simply a case of Webb totally man-handing and drubbing an increasingly fragile Celaya with an avalanche of punches. Webb was most effective when he doubled and tripped up on his straight punches before lunging in to punish the body.
The official ending came at 2:30 of the eighth with referee Marcos Rosales calling off the action packed contest.
Featherweight prospect Jose "The Punisher" Perez Jr. 6-0 (4) faced Abraham Verdugo 5-5 (3), who took the fight on Wednesday having been knocked out in his last fight prior to the Perez bout. Perez picked his spots, hit Verdugo hard to the body but loves the hard counter and not the rush to judgment all out blitz of opponents. A cut on the forehead of Perez didn't make a major difference in the result as Jose Perez boxed his way to unanimous decision victory 40-36 on all three of the judge's scorecard.
In a bantamweight eight rounder, 22 year-old Pilipino-American prospect Nonito "Flash" Donaire boxed and banged, showing fleet footedness and hard combinations behind a high guard against the bulling veteran's veteran Paulino Villalobos, who took the fight on one days notice. Cut near the corner of the right eye in the fourth, the 33 year-old Villalobos took punishment but never stopped moving forward willing to exchange.
Referee Marcos Rosales called a halt to the contest at the conclusion of the sixth round. Villalobos loses his eighth straight fight. The winner, the crafty Nonito Donaire seems very much a future rival for the division's young guns Raul Martinez and Brian Viloria.