By David Finger at ringside
In front of 5,087 Southwest fight fans at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso Texas, former world champions Victor Ortiz and Devon Alexander battled to a twelve round majority draw in an action-packed brawl that featured a contrast in styles between the slick boxing Alexander and the aggressive Ortiz.
Nonetheless, although Ortiz was game throughout the fight, he seemed to have dug himself in a deep hole early on as Alexander peppered Ortiz with jabs and counter right hooks that had Ortiz’s left eye swelling shut in third round. Ortiz fought back in the later rounds to close the gap but it nonetheless appeared to be too little too late for the Kansas native. However, Judge Don Griffin scored the fight 115-113 for Ortiz, while judges Glen Crocker and Javier Martinez scored the fight 114-114. Fightnews scored the fight 116-112 for Alexander. With the draw, Alexander sees his record now stand at 27-4-1, 14 KOs while Ortiz’s record now stands at 32-6-3, 25 KOs.
Undefeated super middleweight Caleb Plant improved to 17-0, 10 KOs after scoring a lopsided twelve round decision over former world title challenger Rogelio “Porky” Medina in an IBF eliminator. Although the West Texas fight fans in attendance grew somewhat restless with the lack of action, Plant nonetheless looked impressive as he picked apart his hard-punching opponent, dominating the fight behind a solid jab and tricky defense. Scores were 120-108, 119-109 and 117-111. Medina drops to 38-9, 32 KOs.
Well, it’s been a long time coming, but Austin Trout is back and based on his performance tonight (February 17th) in front of his hometown fans it is safe to say he is back with a vengeance and set to make a serious run for another world title fight. Trout dominated former WBC Latino middleweight champion Juan De La Angel from Colombia, winning a shutout decision on all three scorecards. There were no knockdowns but Trout looked a little rusty in round one, eating a hard right hand that silenced the hometown fans that drove down from Las a Cruces. It would, however, prove to be the lone highlight for the hard punching Colombian as Trout dominated from the second round behind a sharp jab and flashy combination on the inside whenever De La Angel closed the gap. With the win Trout improves to 31-4, 17 KOs while De La Angel slips to 20-8-1, 18 KOs.
“The first few rounds…I was a step off,” Trout said after the fight. “Once I started using my speed it got me in a rhythm. Still lots of work to do. I’m glad to get this win. I’m about to rack these wins up.”
The Ortiz-Alexander draw left a somewhat sour taste in the mouth of boxing fans in El Paso, and they took it out on the judges after a second straight fight was scored a draw. Prospects Mark Anthony Hernandez and Jeison Rosario engaged in a close chess match with neither fighter taking control of the fight. Although Rosario was cut in round five it proved to have little impact on the rest of the contest. Judge James Moreno had the fight scored 58-56 for Hernandez while judge Javier Martinez scored the fight 59-55 for Rosario. Judge Ruben Najera had the fight even at 57-57. Rosario now sees his record stand at 14-1-1, 11 KOs while Hernandez sees his record stand at 11-1-1, 3 KOs.
Undefeated Karlos Balderas went the distance for the first time in El Paso as he dominated game Mexican Jorge Rojas over four rounds. Balderas dominated the fight behind a solid left hook and overall sharp counterpunching. With the win Balderas improves to 4-0, 3 KOs while Rojas falls to 4-3-1, 2 KOs. All three judges scored the fight 40-36.
IBF 11th ranked junior middleweight contender Tony Harrison won his second fight since being stopped by Jarred Hurd back in February of 2017 in a fight for the vacant IBF junior middleweight title. Harrison won a sloppy stoppage over the game, but limited George Sosa of Philadelphia. Harrison quickly set the tone in the opening round, clearly establishing himself as the much more polished and skilled fighter. But although Sosa often resorted to somewhat comical tactics such as turning away from his opponent and a heavy reliance on trash talking, he proved just tricky enough to back it up on occasion. In round three a counter right hand landed flush for Sosa and briefly had the crowd in El Paso Texas wondering if an upset was in the cards. It was not to be as Harrison weathered the storm and quickly reestablished control. Round four saw Harrison generally dominate and by round five Sosa was a spent commodity as he was felled early in the round with a left hook to the body. Sosa rose but was quickly dropped a second time with another left hook to the body. A clearly shaken Sosa rose and tried to survive the round by protecting his body but in a display that could be used as a training tape for young amateur fighters Harrison switched his attack to Sosa’s now exposed head. A two punch combination to the forehead dropped Sosa a third time in round five, prompting referee Robert Velez to wave off the fight at 2:21 of the round. Although Sosa complained mightily at the stoppage there was little question that Velez made the right call. With the win Harrison improves to 26-2, 21 KOs while Sosa falls to 15-12-1, 15 KOs.
Welterweight Wesley Diana stopped Rynell Griffin in the second round by way of TKO. Diana improves to 2-0 while Griffin falls to 8-36-2.
Argentinian lightweight Jonathan Pacheco came up from a surprise knockdown in the opening round to win a lopsided four round decision over Louisiana’s Josh Ross. Ross hit the canvas three times in round three. With the win Pachado improves to 2-0 while Ross slips to 3-7-4.